Schumer carries comedy's misfired premise
I remember feeling so hopeful.
It was 2011, and the movie was “Bridesmaids.” I was sure it was going to usher in a long-overdue era of female-fronted ensemble comedies.
And, to be sure, we've had a few great comedies along the way, but “I Feel Pretty” shows us that the march of progress in equal comedic representation also means we get the equivalent of an Adam Sandler movie sometimes.
Not that the movie's silly premise doesn't have plenty of laughs along the way — and, yes, I know that's the primary job of a comedy — but it's a mixed bag. And it could have been more.
Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) is trying to live her New York dreams while being held back by her own insecurities. She's in her mid-30s and works in a windowless customer service center.
But after she falls and hits her head in a spin class accident, she awakens believing herself to be, well, hot. Her friends (Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps) don't see any physical transformation, but Renee's newfound confidence is a jarring shift.
Through sheer confidence, she lands a receptionist job at a famous cosmetics company and begins a new relationship. And the only thing that's changed is how she feels about herself.
There's nothing subtle about the message here, as first-time directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein put it right in the title. They're similarly blunt about from where they borrowed their idea, directly referencing “Big” in the movie.
It's not hard to nitpick their premise when it's also set in the vapid world of Manhattan, an irony that seems lost on the whole film, never more so than when Schumer delivers an impassioned speech about self-acceptance … to launch a new cosmetics line.
Schumer was responsible for “Trainwreck,” one of the few movies that truly followed the crude promise of “Bridesmaids,” and she does a better job than most to keep this afloat through sheer will.
I will say that Michelle Williams is a scene-stealer for her unrecognizably mouse-voiced granddaughter heiress to a cosmetics fortune.
If you squint and look past the problems with the premise, there is enough of the kind of fun this sort of silly comedy delivers, even if it's shallower than it thinks it is.