Renee (Amy Schumer), a single New Yorker whose struggle with self-confidence causes her to lead a lesser life, is the epitome of today’s average woman suffering from society’s pressuring interpretation of beauty. Managing the website of the high-end makeup brand Lili LeClair from a dodgy basement office, Renee dreams of getting a receptionist job at the company’s glamorous HQ, an aspiration she deems unrealistic because her looks (Renee is just not skinny-looking) don’t fit the label’s superficial standards.
One night, inspired by the movie Big, in which a young boy gets his wish of becoming an adult granted, Renee asks the universe to make her “undeniably pretty.” The next day, during a humiliating SoulCycle class, she hurts her head and wakes up with a new, loving appreciation for her body. She is incredibly beautiful – although, she really hasn’t physically changed a bit. From then on, Renee, convinced she is one of the most attractive women in the world, takes a chance on getting everything she’s ever wanted.
In I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer takes on a role that was almost tailor-made for her. Sadly, despite being driven by the best intentions, the movie never reaches its full potential.
A good idea carried by a bland message
Duo Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, who co-wrote and co-directed Amy Schumer’s latest starrer, already have some experience making comedies that reinforce women’s self-esteem (How to Be Single, Never Been Kissed). So with this story, their directing debut seemed promising. But with morals like ‘Beauty is a state of mind’ and ‘Pretty people have problems, too’, I Feel Pretty eventually conveys a shallow, straight-out-of-an-ad statement.
Although it generates “a great deal of empathy” and boasts “an ingenious premise,” the film “isn’t as gutsy as it wants to be.” What “makes a lot of sense on paper” should have been a “comfortable territory” for Schumer, having to play with a “relatable topic”. But as it gets gradually plagued with “predictable twists” and “fridge magnet wisdom,” “a smooth, corporate blandness washes over the film.”
Queen of frank comedy Amy Schumer deserved better
Schumer “taps directly into Renee’s poor self-image, and makes the character’s sense of defectiveness humorous but also poignant.” But the “comedian’s considerable talents can’t save a subpar script.” While “there’s a clear comic potential in the setup,” the film “never quite mines the laughter that it should,” which makes for a lack of “spikiness.” After her last film, Snatched, disappointed at the box-office, I Feel Pretty “fails to put [Schumer’s] Hollywood career back on track.”
Best quotes from the reviews:
“Like its appealing main character, I Feel Pretty is a smart, funny comedy that isn’t always confident enough in its potential greatness.” – Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
“The movie that I Feel Pretty should have been deserves to be made.” – Inkoo Kang, The Wrap
“The big screen can be a cramped space for an outsize talent.” – Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
“One knows from watching Schumer’s show that she could have written something far more effective herself.” – Benjamin Lee, The Guardian