I Feel Pretty

 

starstarhalf

 


Amy Schumer mounts her familiar soapbox on female (im)perfection in an improbable but periodically amusing sitcom.

 

I Feel Pretty

Amy through the looking-glass: Ms Schumer with Sasheer Zamata 

 

Basically, Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) is in the wrong job. Stuck in a basement office in New York’s Chinatown, she works the “web traffic” for a high-end cosmetic empire. Staring at the beautiful and the lean all day long, her self-image is incrementally declining, if that’s possible. Then, at the gym, her exercise bike collapses under her weight and she suffers a nasty blow to the head. When she comes to, her perception of herself has been radically transformed: what she now sees in the mirror is a slimline stunner. Thanks to this metamorphosis, Renee’s self-confidence takes off, as does her love life, her career and her dopamine level. Of course, it’s all an illusion…

 

Famously, Baudelaire stated that, "genius is childhood recaptured at will.” Likewise, children thrive at being themselves, with no body-issues or a need to cripple themselves in high heels. It’s a sentiment that Renee arrives at only after being dragged through a multi-helix of narrative devices – id est, beauty is really just skin-deep. Amy Schumer, who has listed “self-deprecation” as one of her interests – along with “everyday life” and sex – would seem to be the perfect actress to play Renee in this concept comedy. She is certainly fearless when it comes to flaunting her cellulite and ‘plus-sized’ body and this material is right up her street.

 

Aimed squarely at the multiplex, I Feel Pretty could have – and should have – been so much better. Unfortunately, first-time directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein – working from their own script – have plumbed for all the tropes of the generic sitcom, robbing the film of any genuine emotion. Michael Andrews' score can only manipulate the viewer so far before a sinking feeling of familiarity sets in. That said, there are some effective touches. Michelle Williams – the world’s most beautiful character actress – is a hoot as Avery LeClaire, the CEO of the company Renee works for. Avery is a knockout with her own insecurities, not least concerns about her voice, an octave below the helium level. Schumer is also very funny, although she fails to convince in her more dramatic scenes, disengaging the audience from the heart of the film. The story is also rather too predictable, not to say improbable, and might have worked better as a black comedy tackling mental psychosis.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Emily Ratajkowski, Busy Philipps, Aidy Bryant, Naomi Campbell, Lauren Hutton, Tom Hopper, Sasheer Zamata, Adrian Martinez, Dave Attell, Caroline Day.

 

Dir Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, Pro Nicolas Chartier, McG, Alissa Phillips, Dominic Rustam, Amy Schumer and Mary Viola, Screenplay Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, Ph Florian Ballhaus, Pro Des William O. Hunter, Ed Tia Nolan, Music Michael Andrews, Costumes Debra McGuire.

 

Voltage Pictures/Wonderland Sound and Vision-STX International.

110 mins. USA/China. 2018. Rel: 4 May 2018. Cert. 12A.