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I Feel Pretty – Movie Review

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I Feel Pretty – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films

With her eponymous sketch show and Trainwreck, Amy Schumer has proven to be a comedian willing to take on Hollywood’s notions of women. I Feel Pretty continues that theme in its commentary about the warped perception that women should only look like models. Schumer brings a lot of sympathy and relatability to her character and her anxieties, while also showcasing plenty of her funny side. There’s a layer of unexpected sweetness to this film and Schumer is also surrounded by solid supporting characters. I Feel Pretty is a more than pleasant afternoon viewing that thankfully sends a positive message about body image.

Schumer’s Renee Bennett is established early on as somebody unlucky in love and career. While these first few scenes might give the impression the movie might just be a series of overweight jokes at her expense, the nuance of the humour eventually becomes more evident. Schumer manages to display the necessary likeability to make us want Renee to succeed. She has an ability to get laughs out of even simple throwaway lines. When her head injury creates the illusion Renee has become an image of beauty, the movie plays around with the scenario often seen in switcharoo comedies, mostly by depicting her as somebody raised on those outlandish fantasy flicks.

I Feel Pretty takes a particular jab at cosmetics companies and the unrealistic standards they set for women. The screenplay, credited to the film’s directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, is intent on showing how these corporations intent on using specific body types to sell their products are partly responsible for Renee’s low self-esteem. It’s admirable to see what might be a silly comedy throwing the knives. There is also a heartfelt subplot running alongside all of the social commentary. The romance that develops between Renee and Rory Scovel’s Ethan is incredibly sweet with the two actors sharing lovely chemistry. It’s a believable love story and plays well with the central theme as he’s more charmed by her quirky personality and her looks never really come up in conversation.

In addition to her line deliveries, Amy Schumer continues to show her strength at physical comedy. A simple gag involving another woman’s pony tail gets a big laugh and a dance sequence at a bikini contest is also performed with the proper confidence. Michelle Williams, meanwhile, gets to give a purely comedic performance as the head of the aforementioned makeup company. It’s not often she takes these kinds of roles, but she treats it with the same dedication as her dramatic parts by almost channeling Ivanka Trump. I Feel Pretty does threaten to run a tad too long as it clocks in at an hour and fifty minutes. However, aside from maybe ten minutes that could have been cut, it flows decently enough.

I Feel Pretty could have settled for run-of-the-mill weight jokes, but there’s a layer underneath the story that’s highly admirable. Amy Schumer has more than proven her ability at tackling difficult subjects and while this movie may lack the raunchiness of her previous projects, she nonetheless has a strong command of the material. The comedy consistently works and it is unafraid of aiming darts at perceived norms about women’s body image. It’s the kind of movie that is perfectly suitable for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon, walking out with a smile. The film knows Amy Schumer is a perfectly good looking woman and that’s a major reason why the message works so well.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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