By Anna Husted EBS Contributor
“I Feel Pretty” is “Shallow Hal” meets “The Hot Chick” with just as many laughs, but with more emphasis on feeling good about the body you have and less on the worn out “it’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
Written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (“Never Been Kissed”), “I Feel Pretty” is about a “normal” young woman named Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) who works for a New York City cosmetic company. Renee looks good and dresses cute, but struggles with her self-image and wishes she was one of the company models rather than working in the IT department. When she hits her head during a spin class she thinks she has become the model she has always wanted to be, but everyone else sees the same Renee. Her new self-imposed model image gives her the confidence to ask the cute guy out and apply for the job she’s always wanted.
Schumer is a one-woman comedy show while breaking down body stereotypes and sexist walls. Her jokes are delivered with perfect timing and her slapstick humor can’t be beat by anyone in Hollywood right now—except maybe Melissa McCarthy. Schumer wants women to know that being sexy is about being yourself. She demonstrates this by participating in a variety of atypical activities for her very normal body size and type, such as entering a bikini contest.
“I Feel Pretty” works great on the comedic level, but falls short because it fails to divvy up the humor among the supporting cast. The plot also gets muddied when Renee hits her head again and continues to live in a confused state, contradicting the theme of female empowerment by making her come across as dumb. Her continued fugue state makes for more laughs, but at Renee’s intellectual expense.
Busy Philipps, Aidy Bryant, Rory Scovel, and Michelle Williams make up the supporting cast, but most of their lines fall flat (Williams being an exception), and Bryant gets almost no jokes despite her creative humor in previous roles.
Williams was the unexpected highlight of “I Feel Pretty.” Known for more serious roles, Williams tapped into a surprising Marilyn Monroe-esque persona to great comedic effect.
In contrast to the supporting cast, the women on the sidelines were model-perfect, which is fodder for many punch lines, but also detrimental because it reinforces how “average” viewers already feel that they are not skinny enough.
While a version of this film written and directed by Amy Schumer would likely have a clearer plot and be more character-driven, “I Feel Pretty” is still pretty hilarious.
“I Feel Pretty” is playing at the Regal Gallatin Valley Cinema in Bozeman.
Anna Husted has a master’s in film studies from New York University. When not gazing at the silver screen at Lone Peak Cinema or watching her new favorite TV show, she’s running, fishing or roughhousing with her cat, Indiana Jones.