April 25, 2018

I Feel Pretty Review

Awww dang! I got another tick bite!

Popular romantic-comedy writing duo Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein make their directorial debut with a movie that’s funnier and more romantic than anything they’ve done since their 1999 debut, Never Been Kissed (though the competition, He’s Just Not That Into You and How to Be Single, is not that strong). Perhaps the smartest move Kohn and Silverstein made was to allow star Amy Schumer to be likable. Usually, she is funny but not very nice.

Insecure Renee Bennett (Schumer) is a nice girl with nice, relatable friends, played by “SNL” alum Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps. When Renee takes a wicked bump on the noggin at a SoulCycle class, she wakes up with more confidence than any of her friends, bosses or coworkers have ever seen. Suddenly, Renee has her dream job—receptionist at stylish cosmetics company Lily LeClaire—and a new boyfriend, super-sweet Ethan (Rory Scovel). Eventually, though, all that confidence goes to her head, and Renee loses sight of what is really important, like friendship.  

Unfortunately, Kohn and Silverstein turn to late second- and third-act shenanigans that are way too much the standard for this sort of flick, leaving I Feel Pretty short of being a modern exemplar of its genre. Sure, Renee’s confidence comes from a possible neurological condition due to which she sees herself as beautiful. Or it’s magic. Either way, why can’t Renee remain a confident woman without also becoming odious? Confident Renee inspires everyone around her, but being hot (in her head) makes her mean, or, at the very least, oblivious to the problems that used to plague her. At least the movie does not allege that a woman cannot simultaneously be personally and professionally successful. 

While its final-act moral fits perfectly into the modern fairy-tale narrative, one wishes the filmmakers had more confidence in their own story and allowed Renee to realize her own self-worth without resorting to clichéd last-act heroics via PowerPoint.