‘I Feel Pretty’ review: Amy Schumer comedy tries to be more than skin-deep
By this point, you’ve probably heard some of the I Feel Pretty backlash. Many people were horrified at what the movie’s trailer seemed to convey: that star Amy Schumer is “ugly” by societal standards, and the only way she could discover her beauty and self-worth is by nailing her head in a fall from a stationary bicycle.
Once awoken from unconsciousness, Schumer’s character, Renee, looks in the mirror and sees that she’s suddenly “beautiful,” even though, to others, she looks exactly the same. It’s all in her head, but she gains an exorbitant amount of confidence, which allows her to go after her dreams — guy, job and life, but not necessarily in that order.
The trailer doesn’t do the movie any favours, and abbreviates the message the movie is trying to communicate to audiences (and specifically women). Strangely, the movie isn’t about being “pretty” at all.
What is it about, then?
Sure, looks and appearance come up regularly, just like in real life, but I Feel Pretty is more about self-confidence, and the illusion that projects on other peoples’ perceptions. The movie starts off with Renee being ignored at the bar when she asks for a drink, and she’s mistaken for a man (yes, totally ridiculous) at a drugstore. Even a baby cries when she tries to smile at it.
At first blush, all of those reactions are assumed to happen because of how Renee looks. What the movie goes on to imply is it’s not her level of attractiveness, but rather her lack of confidence, that propels people to act that way towards her. At least, that’s what I Feel Pretty wants you to take away from it.
Is the movie funny?
Yes, throughout. There are plenty of laughs. If you’re a fan of Schumer’s self-deprecating stand-up, then you’ll feel at home. There’s a Meet the Fockers vibe going on here in the first half, when Renee simply can’t do anything right. It can be frustrating. My viewing audience was roughly 80 per cent women, and the laughs were genuine and continuous.
What’s more surprising are the laughs provided by others.
WATCH BELOW: Amy Schumer talks ‘I Feel Pretty’
Michelle Williams, for one. She puts on a (very) high-pitched voice for the role of Avery LeClaire, the young visionary at the cosmetic company Renee so idolizes. Williams steals nearly every scene she’s in, and her timing is spot-on. She and Schumer work very well together. Who knew she had the comedy chops?
Adrian Martinez, who plays Renee’s colleague Mason, is also a hoot, and though he’s not in the movie that much, he’s a likeable, fun character.
So what’s the bottom line?
Sure to be divisive, as is much of Schumer’s work, I Feel Pretty isn’t exactly the cultural and societal setback it was portrayed to be in the media and by the trailer. While it may communicate a muddled message, there is a nugget of truth to it: those with confidence tend to succeed more than others. Too bad the movie’s title and the inclusion of one’s appearance into the equation reduces its impact.
‘I Feel Pretty’ is now playing in theatres.Follow @CJancelewicz
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