100 percent yes, the rowing machine is amazing for weight loss! And without the impact to your joints of running (which I've also done).
Honestly I can't say enough good things about rowing. I've struggled with my weight my entire life, the rowing machine helped me lose 50 lbs, and more importantly is allowing me to keep them off (two years so far and counting).
I wrote up my story here (needs to be updated as I'm now approaching 6 million lifetime meters). ucanrow2.com/about-us/sarahs-story/
Getting the basics of the rowing stroke down isn't hard, but you would be smart to look for a certified instructor in your area who can give you a lesson or two to make sure you're getting the most you can from the machine. Or try a rowing class, they're a blast!
Here's where to look for certified instructors near you (I can also connect you to an instructor for a private Skype session if you prefer): www.concept2.com/indoor-rowers/training/fi