When the trailer for the Amy Schumer-driven body image satire I Feel Pretty debuted online, the internet was furious. The film looked like a gender-bent version of Shallow Hal with internalized misogyny in contrast to old-fashioned male chauvinism. Luckily, I Feel Pretty is not nearly as offensive as the trailer would make the film out to be, but it's still a problematic clusterfuck that has absolutely no concept of how the real world works.
Amy Schumer stars as a woman named Renee who has been gaslighted to the point that she believes she's too unattractive and uninteresting to ever be successful. Playing a self-loathing woman living in a world where everyone appears to be smarter, faster, thinner, and prettier allows for audiences to immediately identify with the
However, all of this changes when Renee hits her head at a SoulCycle class (because of
I can already hear the undeserving "Yaaaas Queeeeen!" chants from here.
I Feel Pretty isn't unique in its Big/13 Going on 30/Freaky Friday/17 Again-style body-swap storytelling, which is disappointing considering the script comes from Never Been Kissed's Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. I commend the duo for creating a film that focuses more on
Once Renee begins living with her Beyoncé-
The moral I Feel Pretty is desperately trying to deliver doesn't even make it out the door. Is it important to preach confidence to women living in a society that tells them to hate themselves? Yes. Is it empowering to see a woman owning her appearance? Yes. Is
Telling women that "all you need is confidence" is just as unrealistic as telling children "when you grow up, you can do anything." The only reason Renee feels so confident is
I Feel Pretty also never addresses the privileges already afforded to Schumer for being only slightly less conventionally attractive than the standard. Had this movie starred a larger actress like Melissa McCarthy or an actress of color like Tiffany Haddish, Renee's experiences in the work environment would be a hell of a lot more difficult whether she was confident or not.
Renee's life does seem to turn around once she comes out of her shell and starts living her life to the fullest, but they're all opportunities of circumstance. The beauty company she works for has realized they have to start marketing to "normal people," and therefore promotes Renee to a position. This isn't some great achievement earned, this is a token filler that she happened to fit.
Michelle Williams plays Schumer's boss Avery LeClaire in what is arguably the best comedic performance of her career. She steals every scene she's in, largely due to the fact that she's the only comedic presence that isn't hashing out the same "LOL Y U SO CONFIDENT, CHUBBY LADY?" joke that overwhelms the entirety of the film. For die-hard Williams fans, this is a refreshing change of pace for an actress often pigeon-holed as a distraught lover. Renee's romantic interest is played by the completely adorable and endearing Rory Scovel, who delivers a masterful leading-man debut.
I Feel Pretty is a movie I desperately wanted to champion, but I cannot in good faith hail it as the feminist masterpiece it so fiercely tried to present as. Despite what mouth-breathing Redditors have to say about Amy Schumer, she is a revolutionary comedic performer. Unfortunately, I Feel Pretty does her no favors and her talent cannot save her from a jumbled script and repetitive jokes