Amy Schumer’s very R-rated film breakthrough Trainwreck was a hit with critics and audiences looking for the kind of edgy material that made the self-confident and raunchily funny comic a success before Hollywood came calling. Her star vehicle with Goldie Hawn last year, Snatched, was not well received but carried the same R rating one would associate with the Emmy-winning star of Inside Amy Schumer.
But with her latest outing, I Feel Pretty, the humor is defanged and the raunch virtually non-existent in order to get a PG-13 — and a pretty tame PG-13 at that. With this comedy, Schumer attempts to take her admirable positive self-esteem and status as a role model for full-bodied sexiness and flip it on its head. What we are left with, as I say in my video review above, is mostly a one-joke premise spread out to feature length by directors and screenwriters Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. It’s basically the Tom Hanks movie Big for girls (Schumer’s character watches that pic alone one night), carrying the message that you shouldn’t deny who you are but rather embrace it for all it’s worth.
As Renee, Schumer plays a young woman with incredibly low self-esteem. She is perpetually filled with sadness as she looks at herself in the mirror and sees nothing but an overweight and unattractive person, miserable and repulsed by her own appearance. Of course that is the way only she sees herself, not others, but it has a crippling effect on her life and career — uneil she takes a nasty fall while participating in a SoulCycle class. When she awakens, some sort of magic spell has taken over, and though she looks exactly the same, her attitude is 180 degrees towards positivity. She thinks she is suddenly hot — supermodel hot — and conveys that to everyone with whom she comes in contact. That includes her two BFF’s (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips) who can’t understand the personality makeover, as well as a schlubby and nerdy co-worker (Adrian Martinez).
It also leads to a complete change in her personal life when she attracts a new boyfriend (Rory Scovel), who has his own self-confidence issues but succumbs to her force-of-nature makeover. He’s a guy who accepts her for exactly who she doesn’t think she is anymore, and it is these scenes that work the best in adding a modicum of believeability and charm to the proceedings. She also conquers the powers that be at a fashion house, populated with model types, where she talks her way into a job as receptionist. She later wins the admiration and trust of the company’s owner –played in amusing Kewpie-doll style by Michelle Williams, who obviously wanted to show some comedy chops for a change. It is there Renee meets a model (Emily Ratajkowski) who proves that looking like a 10 doesn’t always lead to happiness.
It is all very predictable stuff and yes the laughs are there, but they’re relatively mild when they probably should have been guffaws. There is nothing terribly fresh about this makeover tale which has been told since Cinderella met that Fairy Godmother, but the twist is the only real makeover on display here is simply attitude, not looks.
You can guess where this all leads once the clock strikes midnight as it were — and you wouldn’t be wrong — but you have to hand it to Schumer for selling it with everything she has. Her looks are just fine, but the look of the movie is another matter. Kohn and Silverstein have shot it in annoying closeups throughout, with some uninspired and darkish cinematography from Florian Ballhaus where the film screams for a widescreen, technicolored flavor it never achieves; you can tell where the corners were cut here.
Among the supporting cast, Scovel is appealing in a hangdog way, while it is nice to see Lauren Hutton back on screen as the founder of the agency where Renee works.
Producers are Nicolas Chartier, McG, Alissa Phillips, Dominic Rustam, Mary Viola and Schumer. STXfilms, which hit the female audience sweet spot with the Bad Moms movies, is hoping to find the same kind of magic when this hits theaters Friday.
Do you plan to see I Feel Pretty? Let us know what you think.
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