Hot Take: If I Feel Pretty were Amy Schumer’s first movie, it would have been more effective. It has funny moments but takes forever to get going and then gets super schmaltzy in the third act.
I was cautious when it comes to I Feel Pretty. Anyone who comes onto the scene as hard as Amy Schumer did with 2015’s Trainwreck runs a serious risk of fizzling out. Signs of the Schumer fizzle were evident with last year’s Snatched which struggled at the box office, missed with critics and failed to please audiences. It’s hard to say anything different about I Feel Pretty when it comes to results as the Schumer comedy had her lowest opening at the box office, currently sits at a 33% Tomatometer and audiences have liked it at a rather alarming 31%. Considering how big of a hit Trainwreck was and how well received it was with critics and audiences, it’s a pretty big fall for Schumer who just 3 years ago starred in the 29th top grossing film of the year.
Personally, I’m surprised that I Feel Pretty hasn’t at least outperformed Snatched which was an obvious dud. My expectations walking into I Feel Pretty were much higher than Snatched. On the surface, if you can somehow buy that Schumer who plays “ugly duckling” Renee Bennett, is an unattractive woman who lacks self-confidence but is obsessed with the materialistic nature of the cosmetic company she works for, Lily LeClaire, then there’s a chance you might find more than laughs with this comedy.
In I Feel Pretty, Renee (Schumer) works as a website manager for Lily LeClaire, a large cosmetic company who has set up an offsite office for her and her co-worker Mason (Adrian Martinez) instead of putting them up at their posh Fifth Avenue headquarters. Renee longs to work at the corporate office but her feelings of inadequacy and insecurity about her appearance keep her from achieving her dream. One day, at Soulcycle (which must have paid up substantially for this product placement), Renee falls off her stationary bike (for the second time in the movie, by the way) and hits her head. When she wakes up, Renee thinks she has been granted her wish from the previous night and has become beautiful. (Brain damage makes you think you’re beautiful, I guess.) This changes her approach and she seemingly achieves her goal of working at the corporate office (by taking a demotion to receptionist while the company is in the midst of launching an economical diffusion line of products at Target and “Ka-holes”) when the oddly voiced Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) decides to hire her for the position.
Like Rampage, I Feel Pretty goes everywhere you’d expect it go. Renee’s newfound self-confidence coincidentally lands her everything she ever wanted which she chalks up to being beautiful but really it’s her personality (both good and bad traits) that gets her where she wants to go. Much of Schumer’s comedy is sprinkled throughout which is both good and bad since it sometimes goes against the plot of the film. Often times, when Renee is supposedly exuding self-confidence it comes across as sarcastic because, well, that’s Schumer’s comedy. It’s honest but self-deprecating. So, when she’s acting “pretty”, it sometimes feels as if she’s being ironic. The more confusing part is that Schumer is actually pretty. She’s not the Hunchback of Notre Dame she attempts to embody in the “before” and while she’s not the knock-out she attempts to pretend to think she is in the “after” she’s closer to that than an eyesore. If anything, there are aspects of her new personality that are grating and it’s the uneven nature of it all that makes the whole thing somewhat of a mess. It’s funny enough to overcome this messiness but it feels as if Schumer was a less known commodity, this movie would have worked better.
I Feel Pretty is about as mediocre of a comedy as you’ll come by. There are a few funny moments and Schumer has worked in some physical comedy to go along with her stand-up personae that is sprinkled throughout the film. Michelle Williams is a stand-out in her role but limited in screen time. Rory Scovel is decent as Schumer’s love interest. The rest of the cast is meh including the stunning Emily Ratajkowski who is there to remind us all that pretty girls have problems, too. By the end of 2018, I Feel Pretty will be one of those films you must be reminded you saw before it all comes rushing back to you. At least watching it again will feel somewhat fresh, I guess.
You didn’t hate Snatched. You’re a fan of Schumer no matter what she does.
Didn’t this already not work all that well when it was called Shallow Hal?