If you think the premise behind Amy Schumer’s latest romp I Feel Pretty seems familiar, you’d be right. Switch out Schumer for Jack Black and insert Tony Robbins in place of a motivating SoulCycle trainer and you’ll find this well-intentioned romantic comedy bears a striking resemblance to 2001’s Shallow Hal.
While Hal is gifted with the ability to see inner beauty, Renee (Amy Schumer) wakes from a gag-worthy head knock at spin class with a changed perception of herself. What she sees in the mirror is what she’s always wanted to be – beautiful, with a perfect-10 body. The twist: To everyone else, she looks the same as before. Her newfound confidence quickly wipes away any debilitating self-doubts and empowers her to live life fearlessly.
Can you honestly say that you’ve ever uttered the words “I’m beautiful” as emphatically as Renee does when she first lays eyes on herself following her fall? It’s moments like this that are intended to spark new thinking in audiences.
Contrary to what you might expect based on the trailer, I Feel Pretty isn’t a laugh-out-loud comedy. The film is ultimately pushing an agenda that dives deeper than surface laughs at the expense of the film’s heroine. The message is simple – changing how we see ourselves can change everything. Yes, the movie illustrates this by way of a few snotty women, that haters will continue to judge. But the key take-home message is that you don’t need their approval or validation. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ as they say. Or something to that effect.
Despite the exaggerated delivery, I Feel Pretty authentically captures many insecurities shared by women (and men for that matter). That feeling of self-hatred when you look at your body in the mirror, never quite meeting the standards set by that YouTube beauty tutorial and psyching yourself self out of applying for your dream job because the description asks for someone who’s ‘bubbly’ and ‘confident’. We all get in our own way sometimes. Through Renee, we witness what’s possible when we get out of our heads and allow ourselves to live deliberately. Why can’t we dance on our way into work because we feel so good about ourselves? True, we might look a little silly but who cares. And that’s the point I Feel Pretty is attempting to convey.
Schumer is joined by a supporting cast that includes real-life BFF’s Michelle Williams and Busy Philipps along with Saturday Night alumni Aidy Bryant. After a string of dramatic turns, Michelle shows off her lighter side and comedic talent as the head of an elitist cosmetics empire. Rory Scovel stars as the endearing and unsuspecting love interest.
The body positive film was written and directed by Busy’s husband Marc Silverstein along with Abby Kohn. While this is their feature directorial debut, they’ve penned a string of successful screenplays tackling themes of societal pressure including How to be Single (2016) and Never Been Kissed (1999). They’re sticking to a well-practised formula with this one so don’t expect any huge surprises.
This movie is for all those who’ve ever felt average and out of place in what can, at times, seem like a world full of the genetically blessed. We all know no magic spell can make us feel flawless, but it’s fun to watch Amy Schumer shine as she goes through it.
When filming, Amy Schumer would have her dog on set with her while she was in between filming scenes.