Monday, May 7, 2018

And I Pity Any Girl Who Isn't Me Today

Year: 2018
Director: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein
Cast: Amy Schumer, Rory Scovel, Michelle Williams
Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

Maybe I just shouldn't watch trailers anymore. I had to be dragged to see Blockers, a movie I really liked but which seemed at first glance like a reductive, sex-negative trawl through a slurry of wasted time and anal insertion jokes. And now we have I Feel Pretty, which seemed like a grotesque gauntlet of Amy Schumer body-shaming. It's not not that, but it's likewise much better than it has any right to be. Go figure, I guess.

There's still no way in hell anybody is getting me to watch Super Troupers 2 though.

So, in I Feel Pretty, Renee (Amy Schumer) works for the beauty company Lily LeClaire. Specifically, the web department. She doesn't even get to have her office in the company's glorious high rise, most likely because she's not a wafer-thin model who would break her diet by drinking a full bottle of water. When CEO Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) begrudgingly agrees to develop a diffusion line for lower-end stores like Target or Kohl's, she realizes she needs a consultant who's a "regular" girl.

Meanwhile, Renee hasn't had the confidence to apply for an open receptionist position in the main office. Until... she hits her head during a spin class and suddenly sees herself as unspeakably hot. With her newfound confidence, she gets the job, she gets herself a guy (Rory Scovel), and she learns that the true beauty is the friends she made along the way or whatever.

Look, I enjoyed it, but it's not sticking around in my brain any longer than it needs to.

Now I'm just warning you right here, this is gonna be a real short review. In the rich tradition of modern comedy movies, I Feel Pretty is almost totally devoid of any filmmaking beyond setting up a camera, blasting the set with lights, and rolling as soon as the stars can be coerced from their trailers. At the very least we're not buried beneath a pile of endless improvisational riffing, but as far as having actual "movie" qualities to discuss, I Feel Pretty is just as shallow as its fashionplate characters.

And while I Feel Pretty is funny, what more can you really say than that? There are jokes. More of them made me laugh than didn't. A lot of this is thanks to the cast. Amy Schumer can be abrasive, but she does always deliver, and Rory Scovel is an excellent foil for her in one of his first major film roles (he's been kicking around TV and the comedy scene for some time now, and he deserves every scrap of rom-com love interest he can get his hands on). Michelle Williams tries to steal the show and nails her character's tics and cartoonish squeak of a voice, but she is in almost exactly the same role as Tilda Swinton in that other Schumer feature Trainwreck, and nobody can do Tilda like Tilda.

Plus, it's cheating if you share a scene with Naomi Campbell, because an unplugged toaster would look charismatic and Oscar-worthy next to her.

It's a good thing the laughs keep coming too, because the concept here gets extremely wonky at times. It's never entirely clear what exactly is going on in Renee's head, let alone how exactly everyone else in her life has managed to tiptoe around her delusions. At times, it even forgets about the central conceit entirely, merely opting to run Renee through a truncated version of Anne Hathaway's arc in Devil Wears Prada.

But honestly, the further it can get from that gimmick and the more character-centric comedy it can squeeze in, the better. This is a solid enough romantic comedy that it could stand up on its own without the weird metaphysical/psychosexual(?) plot it tangles itself up in. If this was Trainwreck Part 2 it would be just as funny, so maybe it didn't need to happen this way. Nevertheless, it did, and it's totally fine. We'll just have to leave it at that, I suppose.

TL;DR: I Feel Pretty is a surprisingly decent, if conceptually inconsistent movie.
Rating: 6/10
Word Count: 705

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