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The ugly truth in I Feel Pretty

04 May, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Rory Scovell and Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty

Directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
Certificate 12a

THE basic story behind this Amy Schumer vehicle is we should all learn to love ourselves a little more, and not be bullied or pressured by what society says “beautiful” means.

A fine and high ideal, if a somewhat well-beaten path, and one that will resonate today with the #MeToo generation of younger feminists.

Renee (Schumer) is a website worker for New York fashion brand Lily LeClaire, working in a windowless office in Chinatown with her uncouth but loveable co-worker Mason (Adrian Martinez).

She dreams of being thin and “beautiful” as she believes the model-like employees of the fashion firm she works for are – but instead spends her nights hanging out with her two loser friends, dreaming of losing weight and meeting hunky boys.

One day, at a spin class, she takes a bang to the head and when she comes to in a changing room believes her wish has come true: she is supermodel attractive and nothing can stop her.

This gives her the confidence to get a job as receptionist at the company’s Fifth Avenue headquarters, and start wriggling her way onto stick-thin boss Avery’s (Michelle Williams) radar with her marketing ideas about how to sell a new, low-cost range of cosmetics to “everyday” women.

This film might have its heart in the right place (I’m ambivalent about this) with a message of how we should all be comfy, no matter who we are. But it is let down by the series of vacuous clichés that inhabit every character that trundles across the stage, and the stunning lack of jokes: this is a comedy that has replaced snappy one-liners or slapstick situations with a series of scenes building towards a telegraphed, inevitable, slushy ending.

It also feels condescending in the extreme and frankly, the idea of a cosmetics firm learning that supermodels are not what everyone aspires to as a plot driver is so horribly shallow that whatever laudable aims the makers started out hoping to reach are forgotten by the time the credits roll. It is a shame. Amy Schumer is a good comedic actor and should have been given more ammunition here. Instead, the contradictory nature of the messages just feel grating. This really doesn’t appear to be the modern feminist comedy it seems to think it is. Avoid.


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