Film review: I Feel Pretty is a well-intentioned but vacuous rom-com
There is an early scene in I Feel Pretty when the film’s protagonist Renee (Amy Schumer) watches Big (1988).
It’s hardly a subtle moment, given both films’ narratives of the dangers of wish fulfilment, but it serves as a reminder of how much better is Penny Marshall’s riotous fantasy comedy than Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein’s tedious feature film debut.
The film focuses on the insecure Renee who, after suffering a serious, gym-related head injury, wakes up believing she is the most beautiful woman in the world. This newfound confidence emboldens her to pursue her life’s goals fearlessly.
On paper, Kohn and Silverstein’s body image romantic comedy sounds promising - a film that wittily takes to task body shaming and the stereotypes often associated with the beauty industry.
In reality we are only given brief glimpses of this film - Renee’s early interactions with gym instructor Tasha (Sasheer Zamata) are particularly poignant. Instead we are offered an over-long, intermittently funny comedy more interested in clichéd, vomit-inducing inspirational speeches than laughs.
Things are hardly helped by its poor central performance. Schumer is a fine comedic talent, as shown in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck (2015) but following that and her work in the woeful Snatched (2017), it seems she is recycling the same character who, after three films, is a grating and unlikeable presence.
The supporting characters fare better – with Michelle Williams’ squeaky voiced Avery LeClaire and Rory Scovel’s affable love interest Ethan being the only shining lights in a well-intentioned but otherwise vacuous rom-com.
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