Amy Schumer’s latest film I Feel Pretty is mired by a rote premise built upon a narrative which preaches women must be beautiful to achieve happiness resulting in an insulting final product which will leave audiences disgusted.
How is Schumer even attached to this film? Trainwreck preached many of the opposite principles touched on in her latest release what will no doubt be the #1 film for misogynists around the globe. Some of her fans might hold out hope of getting a few cheap laughs, but even those comedic beats fall flat while the film continues to thrust its agenda. These are the types of releases which decimate careers and relegate comedians to touring status (just ask Keenen Ivory Wayans).
The storyline centers on Renee Bennett (Schumer), an IT professional for a major cosmetic company. Instead of being based out of its Fifth Avenue headquarters, Bennett and her co-worker are relegated to the basement of a Chinatown restaurant. When she’s not fixing glitches online, Bennett is gazing at various products trying to decipher the combination to transform herself into a statuesque beauty. Schumer’s character has become desensitized and equates this transformation with making all her dreams a reality. One night during a moment of self-loathing, she happens upon the infamous scene in Big when the child’s wish comes true and gets a crazy idea. Bennett goes dashing in the pouring rain and throws a coin into a fountain, wishing she was beautiful. Well, that doesn’t do the trick, but a highly predictable head injury at Soul Cycle causes her to believe a transformation occurred. The film quickly pivots to Schumer’s character suddenly being filled with confidence, and her life begins to change. Will it impact who she is, or will Bennett realize what matters most (eye roll)?
Writer/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein were able to take one of the more endearing female comedians working today (Schumer) and transform her into a vapid shell of her former self. Credit goes to Schumer for injecting energy into the story, but nothing could have resuscitated I Feel Pretty. While it obviously attempted to teach the world a lesson of acceptance, the tale spends more time on Bennett’s obsession, making the whole story askew.
Schumer’s performance is energetic yet mundane. Studios are trying desperately to push her as the next “big” thing, but the general public has other ideas. Her agent needs to focus on driving Schumer towards roles which maximize her humor and charm. The supporting cast isn’t any better. Busy Phillips and Aidy Bryant play her best friends, who are impacted emotionally by Bennett’s new confidence. Perhaps the most significant casting choice was casting Michelle Williams as the head of the cosmetic company. Williams delivers her lines in such an annoying high-pitch tone that it detracts from what’s on screen.
While it’s easy to blame Kohn and Silverstein for the final product, we have to remember their previous work is just a collection of superficial tales about the problems one endures in a relationship. Never Been Kissed doesn’t teach much of lesson other than Drew Barrymore doesn’t look like a kid in high school. Why would Kohn or Silverstein use this film as their attempt at writing something more profound? If the idea of the film is to show happiness comes from realizing your inner beauty, then maybe construct the narrative to reflect it. Instead, we are left with a film where all three acts show Schumer’s character is at peace and successful when she feels beautiful. This outdated notion and ridiculous writing will spell doom for I Feel Pretty at the box office, likely damaging Schumer’s film career for the foreseeable future.