I Feel Pretty (PG-13)

Comedy 110 min. April 20, 2018
By Bilge Ebiri
In I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer conks her head on a stationary bicycle at SoulCycle and imagines herself to be super-beautiful and extra-hot, a conviction that precipitates her character's social and professional ascent. That's a minefield of a premise, to be sure: Schumer is perfectly attractive; what kind of old-normal, male-gaze bullshit is all this about her needing to be deluded into finding herself beautiful, etc.?

Renee Bennett's great challenge is not that she's unattractive but that she lacks confidence. She toils in a Chinatown basement doing tech work for a high-end cosmetics company with its headquarters filled with sashaying, whisper-thin sylphs. Once Renee becomes convinced that she's one of them, a world that seemed so hostile and judgmental suddenly opens up and reveals its secrets.

Meanwhile, she does not actually look any different to the people around her. She's just an energetic, self-assured woman who seems to know what she wants. Indeed, once Renee is able to see beyond her own issues, she discovers that everyone has some hang-up. A guy she starts to date (Rory Scovel) feels self-conscious about not being macho enough. The head of the cosmetics company (Michelle Williams, stealing every scene she's in with ruthless efficiency) has a high-pitched squeak of a voice that prevents people from taking her seriously.

The problem with I Feel Pretty isn't that it's offensive but that it's often plodding and unfunny, almost as if its creators are afraid to have too much fun with such a loaded premise. At its best, the film gets at a very special kind of corrosive self-loathing that our perceived flaws -- especially when it comes to body image -- can allow to fester.
Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Emily Ratajkowski, Aidy Bryant, Busy Phillips, Tom Hopper, Naomi Campbell, Lauren Hutton Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein McG, Mary Viola, Nicolas Chartier, Amy Schumer, Alissa Phillips, Dominic Rustam STX Entertainment

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