You know, it was much better than expected.
While I was a big fan of Amy Schumer’s first stand-up, her later two weren’t as memorable. It’s for this reason that I didn’t bother with Trainwreck or Snatched. I Feel Pretty, though, was surprisingly fun. It would have been more fun if the woman next to me didn’t take two separate phone calls during the movie.
The basic concept of the film is heavily reminiscent of Big, and the movie features a direct reference to it as Schumer’s character watches it the night before her “transformation” (the lazy and obvious pun here feels unintended, and I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one). Essentially, an unattractive woman wishes for unquestionable beauty, then hits her head. Awakening, she discovers that her wish has been granted. Unbeknownst to her, this is all in her head and to everybody else she looks the same as always.
And that concept is good. The idea of taking something like Big or What Women Want but removing the fantasy element and placing the magic entirely within the main character’s head is novel and original.
There are issues, though, chief among them being that Amy Schumer isn’t unattractive. Sure, she isn’t Emily Ratajkowski, who stars alongside her, but Schumer is at worst, average. And that’d be a fine movie, too, but it’s not the one they made. Schumer is made out to be absolutely hideous, which is incredibly ironic because in a film where everyone but the protagonist sees how unattractive she is, it’s only the filmmakers seem to think she’s unattractive.
Schumer does well in the lead role, though was a lot more believable in her “confident” persona than her shy and nervous one we see earlier on. It was obvious that a lot of the humour was improvised, and that was pretty hit-and-miss. I laughed quite a few times, which is unfortunately a pleasant surprise when seeing comedies in recent times, but the more lowbrow jokes fell flat.
Though the Big parallels were evident and it was made apparent that it was a large influence on the film, even more than that was I reminded of Shallow Hal, where Jack Black’s character is spellbound to see the inner beauty or inner ugliness of a person, rather than their physical appearance. Like Shallow Hal, I Feel Pretty attempts to have it both ways. For all of its merit in pushing its message that looks mean less than confidence or personality, it can’t resist poking fun at her weight on multiple occasions, and the film even ends on a slightly discordant note where the message gets bit lost. Adding to this is the fact that two subplots were entirely abandoned in the last ten minutes revolving around Schumer’s relationships with characters played by Ratajkowski and Tom Hopper. Not sure what the reason for that was. It makes for a messy, though surprisingly funny film.
I Feel Pretty is in cinemas now.