Even the earliest silent films have told the story about the protagonist wishing they were someone else. Through the power of the camera, they are transformed into beautiful and more confident versions of themselves. The Enchanted Cottage started off as a play, then 1924 silent movie and finally a 1945 motion picture. Audiences were delighted to see the war wounded man and a plain woman see each other as beautiful. The transformation takes place on camera as well and we see how beautiful the couple are. It is all revealed at the end that beauty is a matter of perception and that real beauty is deeper than that.
I Feel Pretty is a vehicle for the comedy talents of Amy Schumer who has lived her life fearlessly as a stand-up comedian and as an actress. In the movie she plays Renee Barrett, a back office worker for a large cosmetics company who is unhappy about her job, her looks and her lack of a relationship. She does have good friends (Busy Philpps, Aidy Bryant) and initiative but like her spin class, she seems to be cycling in place. In a moment of silly inspiration while watching the movie Big she runs out and throws a coin in a pond and hopes to transform. She doesn’t. Or rather, it doesn’t happen till the next day when she falls off her bike in class and wakes up and sees a different person.
Unlike The Enchanted College or Big, we don’t see our heroine change into anything. She is the same person. What changes is that she feels pretty and confident and acts that way. Of course, since it is Amy Schumer, it is over the top confident. In short order, we see Renee trade phone numbers with a guy (Rory Scovel) and actually call and arrange a date. More importantly, the new confidence inspires the pursuit of a job at head office.
The movie can’t be talked about without mention Michelle Williams performance as Avery LeClair. She is practically unrecognizable with the long hair and squeaky voice and no one can tell if she is a hero or villain when it comes to Renee. One thing is clear, Michelle Williams steals scenes that she is in.
Other characters such as Lauren Hutton doesn’t have much to work with as the founder of Lily LeClair. Emily Ratajkowski appears as Mallory, an impossibly pretty girl with confidence problems. Character interactions with Renee shows where the script could use work in showing more human moments. Too many wasted moments mark the film. Thinking on the movie Big which I Feel Pretty shows a clip from, I kept waiting for that moment where humour and creativity combine for that great scene. I doesn’t happen.
The audience wants to see Amy Schumer be outrageous and we do get that in a strip scene at a bar but the writer/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein just have enough to break through to something more extraordinary. Subsequently, I Feel Pretty is likely to do less well that Schumer’s previous outings in Trainwreck and Snatched and that’s a shame.
Eventually, Schumer will find a role worthy of her talents.
This has been a editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations