Amy Schumer appears to be a magnet for public discontention. To say that she has her detractors would be putting it lightly: you need to look no further than the reception, pre-release, of her latest project to see the vitriol spewed towards her. I Feel Pretty was slated within seconds of its first trailer hitting the internet and has been received rather poorly upon its eventual cinemas. Has the world become blinded by the negativity surrounding its star that they cannot recgonise a good time at the movies, or is I Feel Pretty actually a little bit ugly inside and out?
Like many, Renee Bennett (Schumer) struggles with insecurities over her appearance, something which holds her back professionally and personally. After an accident occurs at a fitness class, she loses consciousness and awakens to see herself as a beautiful woman, despite no physical changes actually taking place. Now thriving because of her new found confidence, Renee is living her best life -- but risks alienating friends in the process. Co-starring Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant, I Feel Pretty is a well-meaning film that rather ungracefully crashes through some major obstacles to make its empowering point.
Co-written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, I Feel Pretty comes across as a very personal passion project for Ms Schumer. Perhaps knowing her experiences with both the media and the general public works to intensify the film's significance, coming from a place of real meaning. While she may not have had a hand in writing it, her personality is stamped all over the film so this comedy won't be changing the tide when it comes to your opinion on her. Kohn and Silverstein lay the bare bones for the screenplay if little else; it's pretty unremarkable but it will do. There's some fine set pieces peppered throughout and most of its best work is contained in the middle act, for reasons that will become apparent when watching it -- it's when the film really lets loose.
Schumer's rather charming and she glows when she's playing the confident Renee. While the emotion evoked from the romantic subplot often struggles to nail the landing, Schumer goes with it anyway and the results are fine enough. She and Scovel create some solid chemistry and their romance is believable if slight. Again, she won't change hearts but those with an open-mind may have fun. Snatching the spotlight and basking in the freedom it offers though is Michelle Williams, like you've never seen her before; it's a weirdly wonderful turn from Williams, one that she commits to from the off, providing the emotion and depth the film is searching for. If she could drop a performance like this every now and then, I'd be a very happy person. Philpps and Bryant are both solid, even when relegated to strictly supporting appearances; they seem like two big personalities more deserving of the roles they actually receive.
It's a film where the heart is undoubtedly in the right place, even if it has difficulty executing it without some clunky barriers holding it back. As you gather, I Feel Pretty tries to emphasise that beauty comes from within, and that the media's definition of prettiness is not the be all and end all -- but it does this while having characters visbily turn their nose up at Schumer. I found that viewing it as an ode to confidence was the most effective way of enjoying it, and I ultimately discovered something to admire in its overall message -- it moved me a little bit too. If you can simply let it be, as it continues in its own unique, sometimes rash way, you may be able to appreciate it more.
I Feel Pretty is fine. It's fun - if not always funny - and Schumer makes the most out of what is clearly a passion project for her. With heart embedded in a story that otherwise unfolds in a predictable, formulaic manner, its attempts to empower are commendable but its execution seems somewhat misguided at times. Still, it's largely harmless and entertaining enough; an enjoyable if forgettable comedy responsible for the barmiest Michelle Williams performance we could be graced with. It's worth it for her accent alone.
Summary: I Feel Pretty is a well-meaning comedy that rather ungracefully crashes through some major obstacles to make its empowering point, but survives on the back of Amy Schumer's lead performance and Michelle Williams' scene-stealing supporting turn.