Michelle Williams Amy Schumer Emily Ratajkowski Aidy Bryant Busy Phillips
Rory Scovel Lauren Hutton Naomi Campbell Tom Hopper
Self-confidence becomes the primary thrust of the story, illustrating how it can over-ride reality in both a positive and negative sense. Amy Schumer as Renee, plays her usual role of being a buxom young woman, convinced that she is disadvantaged because of her looks, and taking a jaded view of men who seem to her to favor pretty women. She imagines that someone as beautiful and well proportioned as Mallory (Ratajkowski) has the world at her feet and can’t possibly be disappointed or hurt.
Writers/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein use a literal bump on the head to show how a change in attitude can do wonders for a girl’s self-esteem. Magically, Renee gets up from the floor after a fall at her spinning class bursting with a self-confidence that defies reality; and, interestingly, people seem to overlook physical appearances and go along with her delusion. She charms people, and utilizes traits of thoughtfulness, creativity, and leadership to gain their respect and make a better life for herself.
Of course, everything will not go smoothly all the way, and Renee will learn some lessons about friendship and genuineness that will give her a better hold on life, herself, and those she cares about.
The premise as acted out in I Feel Pretty,in its emphasis on attitude and outlook influencing life events, is rather simplistic and concrete. Although it’s billed as a comedy, the story is straightforward, and lacks creativity in making a true-to-life story be funny and profound at the same time. It’s much too earnest and lacks subtlety to accomplish that. Better films in which to see the transformation of women as a result of changes in perception and experience, for instance, include Maudie, Megan Leavey,andPatti Cake$.
Amy Schumer is gifted in portraying the loveable, spastic, good-hearted character she plays here, but I think she is capable of more than that, and would like to see her in more substantive roles. I fear she will be like Melissa McCarthy, who continues along in the same role that made her famous, despite her talent. Refreshingly, Michelle Williams has taken on a completely different, comedic role here. Who would’ve thought? This paragon of depth in character pulls off the role of a beautifully masked intelligent, powerful woman with a high-pitched “girly” voice. She is the only really interesting, novel character, and I wish she had been given more screen time.
Actors in the roles of Renee’s friends, Scovel (Ethan), Bryant (Vivian), and Jane (Phillips), give vibrant color to the film, and convey the genuineness that Renee needs to keep her grounded. I especially appreciated Scovel’s character, who goes against male stereotypes.
Look beyond Amy Schumer’s role (not new—although very well done) to identify those that exemplify openness to the novel, tolerance for differences, and go against stereotype.