In theory, I Feel Pretty should be a movie full of jokes and laughs. It has anything in a comedy that one wants–a likeable lead with a solid crew of friends–but the script falls remarkably short with not knowing the direction in which to go.
Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) is holding herself back from being that woman who can take charge and control her own destiny. She works in a basement office far from the Lily LeClair Fifth Avenue headquarters. It’s not the most glamourous position but it pays the bills. Her two best friends are Jane (Busy Phillips) and Viv (Aidy Bryant). Like many people, Renee suffers from issues relating to insecurity and self-esteem. The morning after watching Big on television, Renee takes a fall in her SoulCycle class. When she comes to, she thinks that she’s one of the most beautiful women in the world. It is as if her self-perception suddenly changed even though her looks didn’t.
All of a sudden, Renee thinks she has what it takes to finally get noticed. The confidence in which she was lacking is all of a sudden taking full-charge. Whether it’s applying for a receptionist job beneath her pay grade at the Lily LeClair headquarters or meeting Ethan (Rory Scovel) at the dry cleaners, Renee feels that she’s being seen differently. When CEO Avery LeClair (Michelle Williams) plans for a diffusion line, Renee raises her voice.
Amy Schumer, Busy Phillips, and Aidy Bryant are all great, funny, and talented actresses, which is why it’s so hard to explain why the laughs miss. Being friends in real life means the chemistry is there. Audiences should be able to relate to them regardless of material. Where they falter, Oscar nominee Michelle Williams picks up the slack. In her role, Williams delivers her best comedic work since starring in the 1999 Nixon comedy, Dick. Williams takes full advantage of what the script asks and offers viewers a side not typically seen.
Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein do their best to play to Schumer’s strengths in their script but it’s missing the magic. While the film may touch upon important subjects such as body shaming, the jokes fall flat. It’s unfortunate because Schumer is the perfect actress to deliver the message. The script touches on familiar themes for the actress.
I Feel Pretty should add to the social conversation even if the jokes miss.
DIRECTOR: Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein
SCREENWRITERS: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
CAST: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Tom Hooper, Rory Scovel, Emily Ratajkowski, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, with Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton
STX Films opens I Feel Pretty in theaters on April 20, 2018.