I Feel Pretty (2018)
I Feel Pretty, the new Amy Schumer comedy garnering TERRIBLE reviews, is a bumpy airplane ride in winter. The take-off and landing are filled with uneasy turbulence where you’re sometimes unsure if they’re improvising or just unsure of what to do, but once Amy and writer-directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein get above the clouds–the “I Feel Pretty” moment–and up until the inevitable fall from grace, there was smooth sailing hilarity for an unfairly judged comedy. Not only were the laughs pretty steady through the film, but the body positivity while Renee Bennett allows herself the confidence to love herself. There was this bit in the back of my mind where I expected rampant fat shaming jokes or hateful portrayals of body sensitivity, something to make me say “what were they thinking,” but beyond some mediocrity in the film, I entered expecting something pointless, given the awful reaction, but the film is attractively poignant for an image obsessed culture.
The film is open about the physical sensitivities of the characters in its film. They aren’t subtle in their dialogue; Renee meets with another newbie SoulCycle lady through the movie, and she marvels at Mallory’s (Emily Ratajkowski) naturally easy appeal. Renee is the butt of the joke: body conscious, inept with a flatiron, round cheeks, and where there’s so much “OMG YOU’RE SO PRETTY” between them, the pair expresses a generality to feeling on display all the time. She’s a pivot point that opens up her relationship with her friends, including a wonderful Aidy Bryant, someone who I think could handle her own movie; her work, where Michelle Williams as a mousy voiced executive and her founder grandmother in Lauren Hutton are riots; and with boyfriend Ethan (Rory Scovel), insecure in his own right, who falls for Renee thanks to her openness to be exactly who she is.
Maybe people were up in arms because they viewed the humor as tasteless body exploitation, but that’s a game of perception. This is a simple movie that did make me feel more positive walking out of it. I gave me a lovely “why do I give a fuck,” reminder that is always quite nice. Schumer is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and I wouldn’t recommend seeing this if you hated the female Ghostbusters movie or Trainwreck, but if a woman on the raunchier side gives you the chuckles and you want to weigh in on how you viewed Renee’s experience, go check this out.