Tag Archives: amy schumer

‘I Feel Pretty’ has Its Heart in the Right Place

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


‘Snatched’ is Just Funny Enough to Work

Snatched2017posterIt’s kind of funny this film comes out the same weekend as a (very bad) Guy Ritchie film, and he directed another movie called “Snatch…”

“Snatched” marks Amy Schumer’s second starring role on the big screen and features Goldie Hawn’s return to movies for the first time since 2002. The duo star as a mother and daughter who go on vacation in South America, only to be kidnapped and need to escape. Joan Cusack, Ike Barinholtz, Wanda Sykes and Christopher Meloni also star as Jonathan Levine directs.

I don’t mind Amy Schumer. I used to be a fan of her on the Comedy Central Roasts and her early standup, but like a lot of comedians (read: Kevin Hart) once she got big and made the transition into film and television, all her jokes become rinse and repeat of one another (not that I’m putting Schumer in the same breath as Kevin Hart as far as talent). I liked Schumer’s debut film “Trainwreck” (which she also wrote) and even if Schumer has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately (blaming internet trolls for her awful standup special getting one-starred so much that Netflix actually changed their rating system), “Snatched” seemed funny enough. And it turns out, it is; it is literally funny enough.

What makes this film is its supporting cast. Ike Barinholtz (great in the “Neighbors” films) and Bashir Salahuddin (a “Late Night” writer who doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page) have fantastic chemistry as Hawn’s agoraphobic son and the Embassy officer. Their back-and-forth is by far the best aspect of the film, and I really hope to see Salahuddin in more things as soon as possible. Wanda Sykes (always welcome) has a few great lines, too, including one that is in the trailer which makes me laugh every time I hear it.

Schumer and Hawn are both fine, but their roles could have been played by anyone. It isn’t as awkward or forced a relationship as Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon in “Tammy,” but outside a few scenes the two never really share much chemistry. Schumer does her vulgar jokes (albeit toned-down from her usual shtick) and Hawn jumps between enjoying acting again and simply reciting dialogue.

The script, written by Katie Dippold, is probably the film’s weakest point. First things first, the plot isn’t that original; we’ve all seen the “American tourists get kidnapped in a foreign country” thing before. Also, much like Dippold’s other works (“The Heat” and “Ghostbusters”) the film has randomly inserted lines that act as punchlines. When they land, they’re funny; when they don’t, things get awkwardly quiet in the theater.

Despite only running a little over 90 minutes, the film feels longer but for the most part never drags. Editor Zeke Baker (best known for doing a lot of Seth Rogen’s films) has a knack for knowing how long to keep a scene going for before it begins to get overlong or repetitive, and even if the climax feels abrupt, this is a breezy enough film.

There really isn’t much to “Snatched.” While there were no laugh-out-loud moments, I found myself chuckling quite a bit, and even if the mother-daughter dynamic didn’t quite win me over in the film, my own mother enjoyed herself while watching it, as did I. What I’m getting at is this: if you just want to laugh, and plot and creativity aren’t high on your list of demands, then this is worth a view.

Critics Rating: 6/10


‘Trainwreck’ a Dramedy That’s Right On Track

Trainwreck_posterI found it funny that Paul Rudd and Judd Apatow used to make movies together all the time, and now each of them had their own movie come out in the same weekend. Anyone else chuckle? Nope, just me? Alright, well…onto the review.

“Trainwreck” is the latest film from director Judd Apatow, and is the first film he directed that isn’t written by him. Stepping in the writer’s shoes is Amy Schumer, who also stars. When a commitment-phobic working woman (Schumer) meets a sports doctor (Bill Hader), she begins to wonder if she has been living her life wrong. I know that plot sounds like near every rom-com ever, but as you’ll find out (by reading!), the film overcomes that. OK, moving on.

I’m a middling fan of Judd Apatow’s work. I enjoy all of his films about the same, but while they all often scratch greatness, they fail to reach their full potential. “Trainwreck” isn’t going to be a film I remember and reference for years to come, however it may be Apatow’s best film to date.

As I said above, the story of the film is pretty cliché; everything you think is going to happen will happen. So for the movie to succeed, it needed to be able to provide something extra, and “Trainwreck” does just that by having relatable moments, self-deprecation and a surprising amount of dramatic heft.

Amy Schumer, who has been on fire as of late and is being touted as a trailblazer for women in comedy, is very good in her first starring film role. She essentially is playing the version of herself that she jokes about in her standup, being the heavy drinker who goes home with any guy from the bar that she wants. She does a surprisingly tender work in some of the film’s more dramatic scenes, too, and until she becomes Melissa McCarthy and beats us over the head with her presence, I welcome more Amy Schumer in my life.

Doing fine work in supporting roles are Bill Hader (who I always forget how charming his is) and LeBron James, who plays a fictionalized version of himself. Hader does his normal deadpan nice guy routine, and LeBron makes a lot of references to Cleveland and the NBA, which I’m sure were entered specifically for the guys who are dragged to this by their girlfriends and wives (not to say the movie as a whole isn’t full of jokes for everyone).

The biggest problems with the film are the issues found in all Apatow films, in that there are plenty of scenes that exist for the sake of one joke, and if cut wouldn’t change the plot at all. And even though the runtime is two hours, just like with every one of his films you walk out feeling like the film lasted much longer than it actually did. The climax somewhat drags before suddenly ending, but it doesn’t derail the film (ha! “Derailed”! I didn’t even try and make that train wreck reference! I’m hilarious even when I don’t even mean to be…).

I enjoyed a lot about “Trainwreck,” and even if the plot is cliché and the narrative a bit rough around the edges, those flaws are mostly redeemed by charming actors and a smart script. How much fun you get out of the film really depends on how many raunchy jokes you can handle, but seeing as this is Apatow’s fifth directorial effort, you should know what to expect by now.

Critics Rating: 8/10