By: Jessica Goddard
Blandly written and clunkily delivered, I Feel Pretty has its moments but is mediocre to the point of vexation. A sort of cross between Shallow Hal and 13 Going on 30, the premise is probably well-intentioned as far as messaging is concerned, but it’s almost like this movie gives up on itself midway through. Indeed, it’s getting hard out here for those of us rooting for Amy Schumer’s film career.
Written and directed by rom-com duo Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, I Feel Pretty follows Renee (Schumer), an in-the-shadows, behind-the-scenes employee of Lily LeClaire, a renowned and glamorous Manhattan-based beauty brand. The constant bombardment of modelesque figures and faces in her work life and the lack of attention she receives on the dating scene makes her think she must be unattractive (the extent to which the actress, Amy Schumer, is considered conventionally attractive has proven to be a divisive and contentious matter). Renee determines that being undeniably beautiful would be the solution to all her life’s woes, and after a nasty knock on the head during a spin class, she gets her wish – kind of – and sees herself as an 11/10 while the rest of the world views her as unchanged.
Social politicking aside, the real problem with this comedy is that it’s not that funny. Schumer is a good enough physical comedian to make a lot of the gags work, but the writing is just not as creative as it could be for this concept. Over and over again we’re hit with the same irony from different characters – Renee thinks she looks entirely different but she actually looks the same, and everyone’s too polite or confused to tell her otherwise. Which means instead of pleasantly delighting in getting to see a woman finally being treated how she’s always dreamed of being treated, you just end up wincing at every interaction and feeling guilty and icky while you watch this person embarrass herself. Which, y’know, wouldn’t be that bad if it was actually funny.
This all hurries towards a climax that’s frustratingly simplistic and ham-handed, and leaves you not totally sure of what just happened, or how it happened, or how those characters pulled it off, but you don’t care anymore so you just shrug. Besides all of that, the film suffers from a general (though typical) lack of coherence on its central issue (“what matters is what’s inside, not outside!” but “we’re all beautiful!”).
Ultimately, the tiresome repetitiveness and lacklustre script of I Feel Pretty amounts to a movie full of contrivances that just wear thin.
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Jessica Goddard: @TheJGod