So I’m going to suggest something here and you tell me if this is insane. It is almost as if the central joke of I Feel Pretty, the fact that irrevocably ugly Amy Schumer mistakenly believes that she is beautiful is both poorly thought out and ill-fit to sustain a feature-length runtime. Is that as shocking to me as it is to you?
So yes, the plot of I Feel Pretty is that Amy Schumer, a normal thirty-something living in New York, hits her head and falls into the delusion that she is “drop-dead gorgeous” and gains the benefits of someone with the body of a model, while still looking like she normally does. She becomes unassailably confident, starts buying better clothes, and spontaneously begins a relationship with a boy she met at a dry cleaner. Not to mention she becomes vice president of a major cosmetics company’s new line of products geared to “normal women.” Now, this plot is questionable for two reasons. First of all, Amy Schumer is by no means overtly fat or ugly, she can only appear that way when judged against the metric of Hollywood’s unnatural beauty standards. Secondly, Amy Schumer is a very successful comedian who lives in a penthouse apartment in the Upper West Side, and is the host of her very own show. In other words, when she is delivering lines about the poor frazzled women who just want to buy their makeup at Target, it comes off as incredibly disingenuous. Not to mention the fact that the very premise of the movie is shaky at best. In any given scene it is unclear as to whether or not women with body issues are meant to be in on the joke, or the subjects of it.
I Feel Pretty is not a very funny movie. It just isn’t. Amy Schumer is the least interesting actor of the bunch, which is awkward considering she is the protagonist. Her love interest, played by Rory Scovel, is the most believable character and honestly, all of his scenes were made dramatically more pleasant simply by his being there. Emily Ratajkowski is also here and has considerably more lines than she did in Gone Girl, but is still relegated to just being the model that gets to be exploited by the plot. But, the best actor in the film by an incredible margin, has to be Michelle Williams. Yes, the academy-award winning Michelle Williams. She delivers a genuinely incredible performance as the makeup titan Lily Leclair. She is so good in this role and elevates the movie to almost being worth watching.
At the end of the day, I Feel Pretty is an inconsequential little movie that really just struggles to find what it’s trying to say. It never commits to being a feminist parable but isn’t mean-spirited enough to be considered “anti-women.” It ultimately just comes across as awkward, leaving you feeling vaguely bad the entire time you’re watching it, without being able to put a pin on exactly why. But, really isn’t that what you want out of a comedy? To spend the whole time feeling put off only to leave the theater and never think about the movie again?
All images are from I Feel Pretty, a film by STX Films