I feel pretty sounds appealing but in this fickle world, looks do count. Unfortunately for I Feel Pretty it’s all a bit deja vu, same jokes with a more muted style trying to appeal to the everywoman. The central message of the film is that who you are is all in your head – forget the shoes, with the right mindset you can rule the world. Alas, the film isn’t sure what it is and so that leads to a confusing message.
I Feel Pretty tells the story of Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) who works in the back office with Mason (the perennially funny Adrian Martinez) of Avery LeClair cosmetics. She lacks confidence and is riddled with insecurity about her body and looks. The opening scene is of her going to a soul cycle class and feeling out of place. She gets to deliver an important document and sees her boss and idol in the flesh Avery LeClair (Michelle Williams) and then gets told her ideal job – that of the receptionist at Avery LeClair headquarters – is going to be advertised. She is elated and applies and whilst watching the film Big, she runs out into the rain and tosses a coin in the fountain in the hope that her wish, to be confident, will come true. Her wish does come true and everything is perfect until she hits her head and her world goes into a tailspin.
This film has good intentions and a positive message about self image. It is definitely right on trend trying to promote self worth and beauty from in. The issue is that it takes a rather simplistic view of a rather complex issue. What we want and need are films with more complexity that are also feel good. I Feel Pretty feels like one big mouthful of candy floss.
The feel good message feels like a long, hard slog to finally appear It is co-written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. A lot of the jokes in the film have been done before – the big girl going to work out in a sea of supermodel sized women and the list goes on.
Another issue is Amy Schumer playing it seriously in this role. It is not supposed to be slapstick comedy and the problem is she is just not very convincing and she looks ill at ease most of the time on screen. The moment where she becomes body confident and loses all her insecurity falls flat. The whole point of the transformation is that it takes place solely in her head so that everyone around her is confused by her sudden surge of confidence. The simple truth is that in order for this to have worked, another actress should have been cast in the central role. The only saving grace of this film is Michelle Williams. As her character, Avery LeClair, she steals every scene as the slightly nutty, socially awkward, baby voiced CEO.
The only reason to watch I Feel Pretty is for Michelle Williams’ character – comedy gold.
I Feel Pretty is released in cinemas across the UK on Friday 4 May.
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