When walking into I Feel Pretty you would be forgiven for expecting a nice, easy simple comedy that brings a few laughs, a straightforward plot and not a huge amount to think about afterwards. If only I could tell you that it were that simple.
Amy Schumer plays Rennee, a girl obsessed by body image, working in the online department of a giant cosmetic company. She constantly feels inadequate to what she views as far superior looking women around her at work, in the media, at the gym and pretty much everywhere she goes. Shortly after referencing Tom Hanks’ Big (a cheap joke that is one of the few that actually lands), Rennee knocks her head and wakes up to believe she has transformed into a person who looks entirely different from her former self and is now ‘beautiful’, and with a newfound confidence her upwards spiral begins.
The point of the film is to create a world of perfection, that many of us may see, and slowly tries to shatter and break it down by creating making the audience see through their own judgemental eyes and the main character idolise things that shouldn’t really be idolised. It kind of achieves this but probably to a greater extent to what it was hoping. Rather than your typical ‘switch bodies’ concept it is slightly smarter, the viewer and the world sees the same Amy Schumer, but Amy Schumer thinks she looks like someone else entirely. The dramatic device is carried out well and sets itself up nicely for some gags and character development, despite these gags not being anywhere near frequent enough.
The social commentary in the film is colossal, and it couldn’t really be timed at a better moment. The cast is almost exclusively female and the topic of body image, self perception and what it means to be ‘beautiful’ all being much needed additions to the cinema landscape. With Rennee created to be an obvious flawed character obsessed with image, the audience can’t help but sympathize with how she got to be like this. But something still doesn’t fit right as the supporting cast and characters are either two underdeveloped or just too ridiculous to make the commentary seem applicable to Hollywood today. Despite the timing however, it feels as if the two directors were too nervous to make it too complex, so leave it hanging for us to try and figure out for ourselves.
The frustrating part comes with the fact that there is not one single moment in the film that makes you actually care as to what happens in the end. The storyline is so close to being the perfect anti-rom-com but is constantly drawn back to simplistic, uncreative, stereotypical dialogue and plot progressions. It makes for a stilted 110 minutes with the concept probably lending itself more naturally to a 22 minute sitcom than a motion picture.
The outcome of all of this? A confused romantic comedy that refuses to admit that it is a romantic comedy, with underused actors playing oddly developed parts, that makes you laugh just slightly to infrequently, makes you cringe at all the right moment and makes you ponder as to just how deep of a comment on society it was trying to make. Honestly, it’s so confusing trying to work all of that out I don’t think it’s worth your time.