Review: I Feel Pretty (2018)

Directors/Screenwriters: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Aidy Bryant, Busy Phillips, Rory Scovel
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some nudity, and language
Genre: Comedy
Theatrical Release Date: April 20, 2018
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%

I Feel Pretty is tailor-made to caused the audience to laugh till you cry and, if you’re a fan of Amy Schumer (as I am) you won’t be disappointed with her latest.  Granted, she received some interesting negative comments when the trailer was first released.  As she mentioned on an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show, people were essentially telling her she “wasn’t disgusting enough” to make this role believable.  I can certainly understand the criticism, but this movie is best when it doesn’t take itself too seriously. 

In I Feel Pretty, Schumer plays Renee, a woman with extremely low self-confidence.  Even her well-meaning friends (Busy Phillips and Saturday Night Live’s Aidy Bryant) can’t cheer her up, especially when Renee complains about the fact that, on a dating profile, the first (and probably only) thing that matters is the photo.  She doesn’t see herself as pretty, an flabbergasted — enamored, really — at the way in which model-thin and attractive women such as real-life model-actress Emily Ratajkowski is treated in comparison to her.  Renee just wants to be beautiful — at least, what society’s definition of beautiful tends to be.  After she hits her hand after falling off a bike at a Soulcycle class, she miraculously sees herself as beautiful.  And, as you can imagine, hilarity ensues. 

I find Schumer to be one of the funniest people on the planet, and I Feel Pretty showcases her comedic talents and the star power that she possesses, both witnessed in Trainwreck.  Like Trainwreck, Schumer’s physical comedy is on full display in her new movie, especially in one bikini contest scene that nearly had me crying from laughter.  But I Feel Pretty was not written by Schumer herself, which is somewhat of a disappointment, because the raunchiness of her character in Trainwreck and in last year’s Snatched is what made those movies work (the former much more so than the latter).  Perhaps she wants to now appeal to a broader crowd, but I miss the rated R comedy that has made her stand-up so successful (and her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, of which I have seen every episode).

While Schumer is funny, somehow Michelle Williams manages to steal nearly every scene she is in.  As Avery Leclaire, the vain granddaughter of make-up tycoon Lily Leclaire (the legendary Laren Hutton, not given enough screentime), Williams finally gets to exercise her comedic skills — who knew she had them?  Her Avery has a high-pitched voice and looks to Schumer’s Renee, who begins work as a receptionist at Leclaire, for assistance.  I hope to see Williams in more roles like these in the future.  I wish that Phillips and Bryant had been given more to do than be the friends who Renee essentially abandons when she sees herself as beautiful.  They deserved better than that. 

The script devolves into the same territory that other similar movies have held, such as memory loss romantic comedy 50 First Dates and the fantasy-comedy classic Big.  There is so much in I Feel Pretty that is familiar, predictable, and hackneyed.  But, by the end of the movie, I didn’t really care about any of that.  Even though the script doesn’t tackle the dramatic aspects nearly as well as the comedic ones, it still, in a way, an empowering message: you’re beautiful just the way you are.  And Schumer is pretty, just not textbook pretty (like Ratajkowski’s character), which is why the backlash regarding the trailer and the movie are understandable.

Grade: B