I Feel Pretty

This movie reminded me a lot of the Jack Black/Gwyneth Paltrow film Shallow Hal. Black and his friend played by Jason Alexander, are horrible to women. Tony Robbins puts a bit of a spell on him that makes him incapable of seeing when a woman is overweight, but loving what’s on the inside. Just like that movie, this film has a strong cast, but not enough laughs. And that’s a shame, because I saw the trailer for I Feel Pretty about 15 times, and each time my wife and I were in stitches. Yet this truly is a case of the best parts being shown in the commercials, and believe me…I’m not as strict as a lot of critics when it comes to comedies. A perfect example is the Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn movie Snatched, which was generally panned. I thought it had enough laughs that it worked.

This film wants to be an empowerment thing for women with low self-esteem. No better way to do that than to pepper the film with fat jokes, and have Emily Ratajkowski upset about being dumped.

It’s strange that they have fat jokes (the movie opens with a thin woman at a gym loudly yelling for double-wide shoes for Schumer, and another shows her shoving food into her face in the cafeteria and telling the two women next to her “Isn’t it great I can eat anything and still have this body? Yay for genetics.”

I was reminded of the awful Meryl Streep movie Florence Foster Jenkins. They want us to laugh at this horrible singer, but then the movie chides folks for laughing at this poor woman. This movie keeps going with the punchline of — we should be laughing at her because she thinks she’s pretty, but look, she’s not. She’s slightly overweight, so….isn’t that hysterical? And don’t get me wrong, I’d laugh if it were actually funny. For example, having her let it all hang out at a bikini contest. The terrific stand-up comedian Dave Attell plays the host of the contest, which is as fun as it looks in the commercials. Attell even has a sweet thing he says to her boyfriend (Rory Scovel) in the bar afterwards. It’s just a shame the movie didn’t have more sweet moments like that. The only other one I can think of involves their first kiss.

The writers of this movie — Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein — gave us How to be Single, The Vow, and He’s Just Not That Into You. This is their first time writing and getting behind the camera. We can blame the lazy, predictable script on them. Not sure about the sub-par cinematography.

The story has Renee (Schumer) working a low-level job with a high-end cosmetics company, with only one co-worker (the always funny Adrian Martinez). After getting hit on the head and suffering an injury that has her thinking she’s the most beautiful woman in the room — she quickly moves up in the company. The casting of the crew at LeClaire cosmetics is brilliant. They include former supermodels Lauren Hutton (who plays the founder), and Naomi Campbell. In one scene, Campbell shows subtle looks of surprise as Renee goes on about possibly modeling, that are perfect. It’s a shame they couldn’t nail that more often.

Michelle Williams plays the CEO at LeClaire, and she steals the movie with her bizarre voice and insecurities.

Renee’s friends Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and Jane (Busy Philips) aren’t given a lot to do. That’s surprising, especially considering the fact that Philips is married to co-writer/director Silverstein.

Since the movie didn’t shy away from any trope, I was surprised when Renee started thinking she was beautiful, she didn’t get more creative with her make-up and wardrobe. Surely a movie like this would have one of those montages. It might have also made a bit more of a difference in how she really does look. My wife noticed a small flaw. Once she’s “beautiful” there’s a scene where a guy sits down on her bed, and moves her Spanx. If she thought she was beautiful (and had amazing abs), why would she continue to wear Spanx?

Now, a lot of critics are knocking the fact that…she has to be knocked out to become a knock-out. They’re wondering how brain damage would work like that, but come on. It’s a fictional comedy. You just go with the premise. Nobody questioned how Tom Hanks was really a boy that made a wish in Big, and magically became an adult (coincidentally, that movie is referenced in this). So I have no problem going with the story they presented. I just wish it were funnier and less predictable. Also, one of the things I didn’t like about Finding Dory is that Ellen Degeneres as Dory is hard to take for an entire movie. In this, Renee has such a motor mouth, you just wanted her to shut up.

The trailer for this gets 5 stars. The actually movie only gets 2 stars out of 5. Although, most of the screening audience I saw it with seemed to enjoy it. So if you were considering it, you should probably go see it.