This was supposed to be the big one for Amy Schumer. ‘Trainwreck’? Sure, she was great, but that comedy was more of an opportunity to show off Judd Apatow’s Midas Touch. ‘Snatched’? An ill-fated gimmick pairing of a comedy legend, Goldie Hawn, with an up-and-comer. But ‘I Feel Pretty’? This was Schumer’s film, that final step on the ladder to super-duper stardom.
And the result IS? Meh.
Written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (a team pretty familiar with this kind of stuff, having already served up ‘How To Be Single’ and ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’), the problem with ‘I Feel Pretty’ isn’t their lead – she has the chops and slapstick ability to carry this kind of stuff quite capably. Unfortunately, here, it’s the concept. It not only feels like this has been done before (shades of ‘Shallow Hal’), but there were more laughs with previous execution. A lot more.
The plot finds Schumer playing Renee, a would-be career girl, stifled by her enormous lack of self-esteem at every turn. A near concussion in spin class prompts her to believe that she is “undeniably pretty” (“I look like a Kardashian”, she exclaims while gazing into the mirror. “One of the Jenner ones!”), and thus springboards her into the life that she’s always wanted; she shoots for the guys she likes, goes for the jobs she wants and thinks nothing of entering a bikini contest, complete with a dance that isn’t near as erotic as she’s convinced it is (a scene that should’ve been a lot funnier than it is, but we’ve already touched on that).
The movie, quite predictably, builds to a feel-good message about how looks really aren’t that important. That’s all fine and good, it’s just hard to swallow in ‘I Feel Pretty’ – not ONLY because the big speech is delivered at a party to deliver a line of cosmetics – but the fact that Schumer’s not at all the ugly duckling that is so essential to the plot. Okay, so she’s not a super model….but she’s certainly photogenic, thus I can’t really buy 100% into the concept behind the joke.
Good intentions don’t always equal a good movie.