The third film for Amy Schumer, I Feel Pretty is a comedy written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. Schumer plays Renee Bennett, who oversees the website of LeClaire cosmetics; passionate and savvy about the company’s products but not the ‘look’ LeClaire promotes. “The picture is all that matters”, Renee laments to her best friends Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and Jane (Busy Phillipps) when their group photo on a dating site fails to gather any interest. When a position for receptionist at LeClaire’s head office arises, Renee makes a wish in a fountain, inspired by watching Big. The next day she falls off her bike in a SoulCycle class, concussing her head and now ‘seeing’ herself as the beautiful, svelte woman she aspired to be (Emily Ratajkowski‘s character, essentially).
Renee’s new-found confidence has her asking out Ethan (Rory Scovel) at the dry cleaners, applying for and securing the front-of-desk job at LeClaire’s and impressing both its founder, Lilly (Lauren Hutton) and grand daughter/CEO Avery (Michelle Williams). Relating to the ‘diffusion line’ audience LeClaire aims to sell to, Renee quickly rises up the ranks at work, whilst alienating her best friends, Vivian and Jane, with her obsession on image and sexiness. This is highlighted in a bikini competition Renee enters, with her new boyfriend, Ethan, watching on. Renee loses the contest, but wins over Ethan, who is smitten by her self-confidence.
I Feel Pretty is packaged as an empowering film of body positivity for women. There’s no shortage of Schumer sassily swaying her ample hips, bedecked in pink suits and high heels or twerking during the bikini contest – all set to auto tuned ‘grrrlpower’ songs. However, the film fails its premise: that image is not everything. When Renee hits her head, again, in the hotel bathroom in Boston, she ‘sees’ herself as the ‘old’ (unchanged) Renee. Gatecrashing LeCaire’s product launch for Target, with the help of her old colleague, Mason (Adrian Martinez) Renee displays images of ‘real’ women, including her friends, Jane and Vivian and tells the crowd anyone is able to achieve anything…but keep using LeClaire cosmetics! Renee also continues to do SoulCycle classes, despite Ethan adoring her and declaring, “I’ve always seen you”. Looking good remains paramount.
If contrived motivational speeches, girly fashion and pop music are not your cup of tea, this film’s not for you. Coupled with Williams‘ high-pitched whiny voice (I expected a pack of dogs to start howling nearby) and a bunch of fat jokes that are supposed to be overlooked due to the film’s happy ending, I Feel Pretty was irksome, to say the least. A cameo by alpha beeyatch Naomi Campbell yet not one item thrown…I felt pretty underwhelmed.
Buy On Digital July 18. Buy or Rent on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD August 1