Image: Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty © Photograph by Mark Schfer. Courtesy of STXFilms [Source: IMDB]
Amy Schumer is Renee, a woman struggling with her self-esteem until after a hit on the head her entire outlook is changed. Suddenly seeing herself as the beautiful woman she desires to be, her new-found confidence starts to impact her life. But she is entirely oblivious to the fact her looks never changed at all and she slowly starts to become a new person.
Director: Abby Kohn. Marc Silverstein. Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski [12A]
Setting itself up as a modern age feel-good story of empowerment and being happy in yourself. I Feel Pretty does deliver on this feel-good message but only grazes the surface of its insight on what it calls out as body shaming and social attitudes to bad bodies in different environments. Pitting its hollow narrative within the plot of the launch of a bargain range of makeup from a lead designer gives off the rotten smell of familiar narrative tropes. Not only does it deliver entirely on your expectations but in this process, its empowerment message and comedic value get lost in the sluggish pace and unnecessary padding of its narrative. I Feel Pretty feels about twice as long as it actually is, while it may hurt its entertainment value, there is something to be said about the genuine relationship that grows as part of the subplot. Revealing a far more satisfying story that could have still touched upon the same theme but with more endurance.
While the romantic subplot is orchestrated well it does indicate a lack of focus within the narrative and certainly identifies its grating tonal shifts. From the more serious delivering of its theme to the radically unhumourous tone in which it makes fun of its scenario. The multitude of styles and tones being half committed to in I Feel Pretty, attempting to mix the magic of Big and the humour of Shallow Hal with Schumer’s brand of comedy makes for a terribly uneven viewing experience, leaving it as shallow as it makes out the world is.
Amy Schumer does play her part well, she is certainly charming and has the qualities to make an audience believe in her character as a real person with real issues. But she rarely gets a laugh. The jokes never work because we are constantly being told Amy Schumer looks hideous and…she doesn’t. Every gag and bit about how this “ugly” person thinks they are good-looking, just comes across as disingenuous. The humour hasn’t got quite the same impact as Jack Black’s Shallow Hal but I wonder if being that upfront about it would fly in today’s cinema. Despite the fact that this comedy is not comedic, its message is one that will certainly give you something to think about while you are watching, at the very least.