By Jack Dignan
Originally Published on Salty Popcorn
If you say the name Amy Schumer around people, you’ll probably get a lot of eye rolls. From her joke theft accusations to her universally despised Netflix special, her spike in popularity has recently dwindled. She needs a reawakening, something to win audiences back over to her side. I FEEL PRETTY could’ve been that reawakening. It comes close, but sadly, it just misses the mark.
This time around, Amy Schumer plays Amy Schumer – oh uh I mean Renee Bennet. She’s struggling to deal with her anxieties and insecurities, wishing for the self-confidence other, perhaps even more attractive women, have. And then one day it happens. After a freak accident during a fitness class, Renee awakens with a brand new outlook at the world. She no longer sees the woman she once was, but instead a courageous and beautiful woman who can get anything she wants. Her newfound identity brings changes and improvements into her life, including a new boyfriend played by Rory Scovel, but as we all know, happiness doesn’t last forever, and the world she knows and loves could come to an end at any moment.
A key element of a comedy is humour. Obviously. If it’s absent, your film is more of a drama. The biggest issue with I FEEL PRETTY is that it simply isn’t funny. I spent the whole time watching, patiently waiting for that one incredible joke that would blow things away and at least somewhat redeem the film, but it’s a joke that never came. The central crux of the narrative is that Renee now has more confidence than ever, putting her into situations she wouldn’t normally be in, but there’s only so far you can stretch that joke and unfortunately, it’s a joke that was barely funny to begin with.
There are definitely some good one-liners sprinkled throughout. With a cast as good as this one, featuring the likes of Aidy Bryant, Adrian Martinez, Emily Ratajkowski and Michelle Williams, it’s hard not to be entertained by something. Williams is the absolute MVP (most valuable player), whose hysterically exaggerated performance brings the most laughs out of all, but even then, the very few jokes that do land are far from memorable. For every sequence that’s as mildly amusing as the bikini show, in which Renee enters a completion she’s far from qualified to enter, there’s two or three jokes more along the lines of “this person dropped their toilet paper and it rolled outside the cubicle.” Comedic genius, this is not.
However, despite its lack of laughs, this isn’t a film that’ll shake you to your core and fuel you with anger. It’s bad, but it’s not that bad. Writer-director duos of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (the writers of HOW TO BE SINGLE and VALENTINE’S DAY, now making their directorial debut) have harmless, solid intentions. Their screenplay, for all intents and purposes, is kind hearted and optimistic, with a message that’s relevant for a lot of modern audiences. Everything that happens in the movie is predictable. Literally. I don’t think there’s a single element of the screenplay that I didn’t see coming, undermining the importance of the message.
There’s not much more I can really add to this movie. For as well intended as it may be, and as undeniably sweet as some of the sequences are, it’s unremarkable in practically every way. And if you work in a cinema like I do, get ready to listen to the exact same credit song used recently in both BLOCKERS and A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS. If you don’t have it memorised by now, after spending many hours of your life cleaning away listening to it, I FEEL PRETTY is sure to do the trick.
2 1/2 Stars
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