I Feel Pretty – Recap/ Review (with Spoilers)

Title card for I Feel Pretty.
33.33% (1)

I Feel Pretty is the follow-up to Trainwreck people were waiting for out of Amy Schumer.


Director(s)Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Screenplay ByAbby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Date Released4/20/2018
Genre(s)Comedy, Drama
Noted Actors
ReneeAmy Schumer
EthanRory Scovel
AveryMichelle Williams
GrantTom Hopper

Summary

Something happened to Renee. Maybe it was hitting her twenties or thirties and not dating much. Perhaps gaining weight or not getting much in the way of attention. Either way, while she has some sort of self-esteem, it isn’t that high. That is until she hits her head and believes she has abs, a completely different face, and is her perception of beautiful.

Thus giving the physically unchanged Renee the confidence she always thought beautiful women have and living the type of life she figures they do. Leading to her getting a boyfriend, Ethan, transitioning from her backroom job to a receptionist role, and even getting to be a makeup consultant.

But, all good things come to an end. Leaving us to wonder that with Renee losing her confidence, will she be able to settle for her old life again? Or will she fight to maintain the lifestyle she was becoming comfortable in?

Highlights

Avery

Avery and her CFO, played by Naomi Campbell, interviewing Renee.

When it comes to Michelle Williams, while she is a familiar face, last seen in The Greatest Showman, she never plays big personalities. She isn’t a very showy actress but usually plays quiet, subtle roles. The kind which, in the moment, when she is doing press, you recognize her and her talent. However, when she isn’t out there she becomes one of those, “Whatever happened to?” type of people.

In a way, that might just change due to I Feel Pretty. Similar to Schumer’s work with John Cena, the way she plays off of Williams, who I should note isn’t making Schumer do all the heavy lifting at all, really pushes her to shine. In fact, between Avery and Renee, they are the ones which introduce the more complicated aspects of this comedy.

Should I Be Laughing At This?

People who aren’t skinny loving themselves, women with anxiety and thinking they are not good enough, guys who aren’t machismo, and things of that nature. These are what make up a lot of the jokes of the movie but they are written and performed in such a way that as much as they are funny, you also feel bad for the character. Take Avery for example. With her wispy and light voice, it makes it hard for her to be a businesswoman and with her inheriting her cosmetics company from her grandmother, and wanting to prove herself, the voice is such an obstacle. To the point we see her deprecate herself when she doesn’t do or say something right. Especially while in the process of trying to launch a more affordable version of their luxury product.

But, of course, it goes beyond just her. The majority of the jokes surrounding Renee is about this idea of how women who usually are made to feel othered would act if they believed they were attractive. Especially with memories of how life used to be. And in that, you may find Renee’s actions and dialog funny, but as you come to realize how much of her actions are based off living this fantasy she thought magic would have to be involved to have, it is heartbreaking a little bit.

Renee being told, by a store clerk, the store doesn't have her size but it is probably online.
Renee being told the store doesn’t have her size but it is probably online.

Then when you realize that these jokes are the kind which blur the line of laughing at or with someone, it pushes you to wonder are you laughing at the idea of someone with some meat feeling good about themselves? Is the idea so foreign, since there aren’t a lot of average to heavyset actresses who don’t veer towards comedy, that it makes for good laughs?

I mean, Amy Schumer starring in something with depth and which pushes conversation may sound off, but this film does do that. Also, to its credit, it even brings guys insecurities into it. Nothing that deep but with Ethan, during his first time with Renee, wanting the lights off because how he feels about his body, that was something different.

For men’s body issues, since they are often compared to women’s, gets heavily downplayed. Even as they deal with the same unrealistic expectations. After all, while in comedy you can find overweight and acquired taste looking people, there is this realization in many that they aren’t some Zac Efron or Leonardo DiCaprio type in there. It is just, because their insecurities are part of the joke, there isn’t a real moment of addressing them. But, in I Feel Pretty, while Ethan’s issues with body image and masculinity aren’t central to the story, they are to his character, once he gets past being seen with and dating confidant Renee.

Amy Schumer’s Performance

Renee looking at herself after attempting to mimic a hair tutorial.

I Feel Pretty helps you take the first step towards forgiving Schumer for The Leather Special. For with 36 quality laugh out loud moments, and that is being conservative, you are reminded why Schumer used to be considered an “It” girl of some kind. But it isn’t just the funny moments either. As we got a glimpse of in Thank You For Your Service, Schumer does show a side to Renee which doesn’t have an undercurrent of comedy to it. There are genuine moments of insecurity which push you to realize that while this film is essentially a comedy, it is the kind that, for many, will present moments where you are laughing to keep from crying. If only because being passed over, mistreated, and outright disrespected, that is part of your life. And yeah, it is funny the way she is handling it but when it happens to you, sometimes curving the situation to something funny isn’t always an option and it hits hard.

Something we see happen to Renee a few times. Which doesn’t lead to teary-eyed moments but does push you to believe, as noted, as much as this is a comedy, it is also putting a mirror towards its audience. Questioning why you think what Renee goes through is hilarious when you see how much she struggles.

Criticism

I Just Wish There Was A Small Change

Is it wrong to wish that, instead of Renee seeing herself with abs, an unrecognizable face, and all that, her Rebel Wilson level confidence was that she found her true self sexy? To me, it would have linked better with Renee’s monologue at the end better.

On The Fence

Renee Being Forgiven When She Goes Off The Deep End

As with most films, there is a, “I’m sorry I was such an ass” moment. Which, while you get it is necessary and bound to happen, especially after how ridiculous Renee was acting, when you see that happen in a lot of movies, it just makes your eyes roll. If only because, sometimes it makes you wish the grand gesture towards the end of the film just wasn’t enough. Especially when you leave someone hanging, thoroughly embarrass them, or possibly ruin a really big moment for them.

Grant

Grant is a strange character in the movie whose motivation you may never truly get. At first, you think maybe he is Avery’s husband but it is revealed he is her snarky brother. Someone you think may want to sabotage her. Be it by messing up the launch of the new, affordable, makeup line, or making it seem she isn’t ready or the best person, to lead the company. But, in the end, seemingly he is just a weird brother who likes messing with his sister, despite knowing how hard she truly works to be taken seriously.

Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Renee, in a bikini contest, pointing out towards the crowd.

It is often said by comedians, especially those who hate how politically correct things have gotten, that comedy should make people uncomfortable. Especially since it usually deals with things in society which are peculiar, terrible, and need to be illuminated. Essentially, that is what I Feel Pretty does. It questions, while you laugh, why are you laughing? Are you laughing because Schumer’s antics or because this woman who, is by all means average, struts like she sees women like her treated as a beauty standard?

And in that, you get a deeper comedy than expected which pushes the positive label. For this is the follow-up to Trainwreck people were waiting for out of Amy Schumer. So fans of hers will be quite happy and those who don’t like her, I can’t say this will win you over but I’m sure the ideas presented will give you a lot of articles to comment on.


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About Amari Sali 3366 Articles
New Jersey native Amari Sali takes the approach of more so being a media advisor than a critic to sort of fill in the gap left between casual fans of media and those who review productions for a living. Thus being open about bias while still giving enough insight, often with spoilers, to present whether something is worth seeing, buying, renting, streaming, or checking out at all.

7 Comments

  1. Hi Amari – as a film critic I am regularly bound to hold reviews of all journalists’ screenings until opening week, unless advised otherwise. If you did not get your invitation from a studio publicist, you’re probably right that you have no embargoes.

  2. As noted in previous correspondence, any and all screenings I go to are public screenings generally found through: http://www.advancescreenings.com/ that are available to anyone who signs up to attend. In the agreements, and at the theater, there are no conversation about embargoes other wise I would have just scheduled this post and left it at that. All that is noted is that we cannot record the film with our devices.

    The only time I’m ever made aware of embargoes is when you tell me there is one.

  3. Amari, What’s you secret on being allowed to be the only critic reviewing “I Feel Pretty” ahead of STX’s embargo, which allows reviews only after April 18 at 4p ET?

  4. It depends how you define dramedy.

    If we’re talking like a Showtime, be it Shameless or SMILF, I Feel Pretty is kind of along those lines. The only difference is, it veers more towards comedy and while it addresses the issue, it doesn’t explore how for Renee in particular it happened – without the use of comic relief. But if you stripped that from the movie, I feel like you take away part of what makes it great. This whole idea of why is it funny that this average sized women can be confident in her looks is the hook and also what could give the film longevity.

  5. It depends how you define dramedy.

    If we’re talking like a Showtime, be it Shameless or SMILF, I Feel Pretty is kind of along those lines. The only difference is, it veers more towards comedy and while it addresses the issue, it doesn’t explore how for Renee in particular it happened – without the use of comic relief. But if you stripped that from the movie, I feel like you take away part of what makes it great. This whole idea of why is it funny that this average sized women can be confident in her looks is the hook and also what could give the film longevity.

    Stripping away the awkwardness of knowing whether it is okay to essentially laugh at Renee and have her take her insecurities more seriously could work, but I think would lessen the conversation this film could spark. Especially with websites that like picking apart what is or isn’t politically correct or appropriate.

    • It depends how you define dramedy.

      If we’re talking like a Showtime, be it Shameless or SMILF, I Feel Pretty is kind of along those lines. The only difference is, it veers more towards comedy and while it addresses the issue, it doesn’t explore how for Renee in particular it happened – without the use of comic relief. But if you stripped that from the movie, I feel like you take away part of what makes it great. This whole idea of why is it funny that this average sized women can be confident in her looks is the hook and also what could give the film longevity.

      Stripping away the awkwardness of knowing whether it is okay to essentially laugh at Renee and have her take her insecurities more seriously could work, but I think would lessen the conversation this film could spark. Especially with websites that like picking apart what is or isn’t politically correct or appropriate.

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