It’s ironic that this film’s message is all about not judging a book by its cover and many people (myself included) wrote it off before seeing it simply because of its trailer…
“I Feel Pretty” is the third film to star Amy Schumer, and follows her journey as an insecure everyday woman who gets bumped in the head and suddenly believes she is the most beautiful and confident person on the planet. Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps and Tom Hopper as Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein write and make their directorial debuts.
I really wasn’t looking forward to this film. I used to be a big fan of Amy Schumer and her standup, as well as her early days on the Comedy Central Roasts, but recently her bits have gotten lazy and repetitive (not to mention possibly stolen). The trailer to this film looked absolutely dreadful and nonsensical, leading my friend (who never judges a film before he sees it or off a commercial) to constantly comment how dumb it looked and for certain groups on Twitter to label the film as “fat shaming.” But much like all the shallow people in the film, I have to eat my words and say I judged this too soon because while it has its share of flaws, “I Feel Pretty” has some decent heart and chuckles, too.
I enjoyed Schumer’s performances in “Trainwreck” (for which she also wrote the script) and last year’s “Snatched,” although she isn’t really given much true acting to do, meaning she basically just plays a caricature of her on-stage persona. Here she has some actual emotional scenes and I think she sticks the landing, even if some of the sequences where she appears super confident come across as a little goofy.
The cast as a whole is well put together and all play their typical roles (Emily Ratajkowski is the hot friend, Aidy Bryant is the nice, “looks don’t matter, let me knit you a sweater” friend, etc). The true standout, however, is Michelle Williams as Schumer’s boss, the high-pitched voice CEO of a large cosmetics company. A four-time Oscar nominee, Williams won a Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical Golden Globe for technically (as Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon have joked) being a comedian in “My Week with Marilyn” but she really has never starred in an actual comedy before. A lot like LeBron James in “Trainwreck” Williams steals every scene she is in simply because it is such a delight watching a traditional serious person be able to let loose and enjoy a role.
The film has a good message at its center about how it is important for women of all ages, shapes, colors and sizes to love themselves and treat one another with respect and for that it deserves commendation. It could be argued that they only skim the surface of the “problem” and don’t really get into the stem of the issue but this is an Amy Schumer comedy, not a middle school PSA.
The film flows nicely in the first two acts but then slows down in the beginning of the third, when we have to get the inevitable character arguments and eventual efforts to win everyone back. I really wish this was either trimmed down or edited better because it did affect my overall thoughts on the film.
“I Feel Pretty” isn’t Schumer’s funniest effort, nor is it directors/writers Kohn and Silverstein (check out their 2016 film “How to Be Single,” now that’s a breezy comedy). However despite its lack of laugh-out-loud moments I still was digging the energy and message that is was putting out for a majority of the runtime, and that isn’t nothing.
Critic’s Grade: B