As actor and comedian Adam Devine knows, there’s nothing like a conk on the head — or, in his case, getting hit by a cement truck (for real) — to change your outlook on life.
So, for him, the premise of the new Rebel Wilson film, “Isn’t It Romantic,” isn’t that far-fetched. The comedy, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson and opening Wednesday, Feb. 13, stars Wilson as a New York City architect (and cynic about love) who is knocked unconscious and awakens to discover — gasp — her life has become a romantic comedy, full of all the stereotypical elements of rom-coms (the oversized apartment, gay sidekick, impromptu musical numbers — you know the drill). Devine, who co-starred with Wilson in two “Pitch Perfect” films, plays her office buddy and possible love interest, alongside Liam Hemsworth as a hunky businessman and Priyanka Chopra as a model.
An Omaha native, Devine, 35, spoke with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio by phone from San Francisco, where he’s filming another movie.
So when it comes to romantic comedies, are you for or against?
I’m “for.” I get very misty. I like a good romance. I like to root for the underdog. So I’m all for a good rom-com. It’s stuff you wish would happen to you. Why can’t I have a meet-cute? I only have meet-disgustings.
What’s it like getting to sing with Rebel again?
Rebel and I have such a history with those “Pitch Perfect” movies, so [when it came to the film’s spoof musical numbers] we clicked back into it. And Priyanka — she’s such a pro, with her Bollywood background. It was really fun watching Liam because he hadn’t had much experience doing that. Watching Liam be goofy, since he’s the coolest guy on earth, was really awesome.
I hear you gave Rebel [who’s Australian] one of her first U.S. gigs — a guest shot on your Comedy Central series, “Workaholics,” in 2011.
I knew from the get-go Rebel was super-funny. Then we did “Pitch Perfect.” Now this. It seems she’s Tina Fey to my Amy Poehler. Or the other way around.
So about that cement truck, when you were 11 — are you sick of people asking about it?
No. [He chuckles.] It’s my sympathy card. I was walking. My friends were across the street. We were going to a convenience store to get candy. My friend yells, “Come on,” and I took it as the coast was clear. He meant, “C’mon, I’m excited to get candy.” I couldn’t see that side of the street, walked out and got hit by a cement truck. I was in a coma for two weeks and couldn’t walk for almost two years. I had to relearn how to walk.
That kind of experience must have a lasting impact. How has it shaped you as an adult?
My legs hurt more than they would.
Oh, yeah. They’re always hurting a bit. But I think . . . [He pauses.] I don’t take things for granted like I probably would. I have goals I work hard to achieve, because I know how precious time is. When you get that close to dying at an early age, you realize, oh, I could just walk in front of a truck tomorrow and I’m gone. I might as well try to do all the stuff I want to do as quickly as I can. At least that’s how I look at it.
You’re now shooting a film [tentatively called “Lexi”] about a guy obsessed with his cellphone. Which begs the question: How obsessed are you with yours?
I didn’t really notice it till I got that Apple update saying how often I use my phone. And I’m like . . . my God. I’m a monster. You use it for GPS, to watch movies or TV, for Instagram, to tweet. As much as I didn’t think I’m addicted to my phone, I am. And other people are more addicted. So I think the movie is pretty timely. And it’s really funny. It’s written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who wrote “The Hangover” and “Bad Moms.”
So if you had to give up one major function or app on your phone, what would it be?
What could I live without? Uhhh . . . I’d most like to give up social media. It just takes up so much time. And at the end of the day, I think your life is better without checking in on what other people comment on your life. But I need it for work — you have to post about things. So I’d probably give up . . . maybe my camera. I’d like to live in the moment more and not take photos all the time. If I want to take a photo, I should just bring a camera.