“Feel Pretty” (2018)
Running Time: 110 minutes
Written & Directed by: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
Featuring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, Tom Hopper, Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton
Renee Bennett: “I can eat whatever I want and still look like this.”
There are some movies that may sound like a good idea on paper or in a pitch, but end up being misjudged so much that even a little way into it audiences can find it hard to believe what they are watching. When viewing the latest Amy Schumer comedy “I Feel Pretty” (2018) I was ready to get on board a movie that is based around body image, which Schumer is no stranger to if you have ever seen her television show or stand up act. However once the general conceit is revealed it becomes clear pretty quickly how misjudged this movie actually is, as well as the fact that the message within this movie makes little sense, it is also fairly insulting to most people on the planet. This ends up a kind of a humourless “Zoolander” (2001) without the sheer stupidity as well as a clear line on who the movie is aimed at as well as who it is making fun of. So much of the movie makes little sense in terms of creative decisions such as the plot point of a make-up company being a kind of antagonist, that the main character is an IT worker who sees herself as ugly with a co-worker that has to be similar to her, that to feel like she is getting ahead she has to take a demotion just to be with the ‘pretty’ people and so much more that it makes my head hurt to think about to much. “I Feel Pretty” is such a disappointing movie that I have to question the reason it was green lit, it could only be to attempt to cash in on Schumer’s new found stardom as well as her stand up but it is obvious that there was little thought put into the plot which reads like the very worst rom-com movies around, it is reductive to the point that there are no surprises with the ill-conceived idea to attempt to marry the narrative to Penny Marshall’s absolutely great comedy “Big” (1988).
This movie is co-written and co-directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein who are primarily known for writing romantic comedies that almost all fall into the predictable as well as reductive camp, they say nothing new, cribbing off better movies within the genre. “I Feel Pretty” however is a new low that is so obvious with a classic three act structure that at times had me questioning if they were present for many of the scenes. The way in which there is an attempt to illustrate an issue like body image that reinforces stereotypes throughout the movie is carried out in such bad ways I found myself thinking do they know what they are trying to say, do they care and maybe they should have gone back to the drawing board as this is just a bad taste movie particularly with the final scenes which are supposed to be some kind of learnt lesson from the main character. However with the lazy writing as well as the narrative the epiphany comes in front of an audience that are not part of the issues of the movie which is a paper thin conclusion to the story.
The movie revolves around Renee Bennett is a young woman of average physical attractiveness and fitness, who struggles with insecurity over her appearance. Out of a Chinatown basement office, she manages the website for cosmetics firm Lily LeClaire while aspiring to work in their Fifth Avenue headquarters. But she declines to apply for a receptionist position there after reading the job description’s emphasis on being the beautiful “face” of LeClaire. One night, inspired by the movie, Big, Renee wishes at a fountain to be beautiful, but nothing happens. The next day, Renee falls off her SoulCycle bike, hitting her head, and losing consciousness. When she wakes, she has not changed physically, but she believes herself to be astonishingly beautiful.
“I Feel Pretty” is obviously an Amy Schumer vehicle meant to highlight not only her comedy acting but riffing on her ability as a comedy performer as well as her live act and in this it does succeed for her as a performer delivering all her lines as you might expect if you have seen her breakout “Trainwreck” (2017) but this does not have the script or even the original idea behind that movie, I do think Schumer can do much better than this reductive screenplay. The rest of the cast is made up of Oscar nominated Michelle Williams who has taken some chances building up a character that is the most original part of the movie who is obviously a talent far above everybody else in the movie, she makes the veteran decision of releasing what movie she is in and calibrates her performance for it. The other two standout characters in the film are Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant who play Schumers friends who are not in the movie enough as well as being the funniest and brightest parts of the movie who are welcome onscreen to being some levity, honesty and humour which is much needed.
I can see why this movie might be offensive to some, it handles body image as well as body shaming in a very hap handed way with seemingly little thought to the message that is being sent out in a movie designed to be seen by millions in movie theatres and at home. If some thought has been given to how people who do not fit a certain look feel about the world around them as well as how they actually feel about themselves then this could have been a very special movie with something real to say in a humorous way with some A list talent that I believe would have been behind it one hundred percent. Instead we have a movie with a trope ridden script, a narrative that is redundant by its place in the zeitgeist as well as laughs that go for the lowest common denominator which again seems like a failure on the filmmakers part. The odd thing is the people that will enjoy this movie the most are the people it rails against, the people who have it all and may think this movie sympathises with kind of people Schumer seems to claim to represent which is itself a joke of sorts.
A movie like this should only be viewed once if at all, I would recommend that this is either rented or streamed, it is not an overly enjoyable experience even thought here are osme genuine laughs but for the most part the themes are blurry to say the least which is a huge missed opportunity for everyone involved.
- Being Pretty – Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
“I Feel Pretty” is out now on DVD & Blu-ray.