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I Feel Pretty **1/2

“I Feel Pretty” has its heart in the right place, which is terrific, but as a comedy it lacks the consistency needed to make it a real delight.  

Is it worth $10? Yes  

Taking its premise from “Big,” “Shallow Hal” and others of its ilk, Amy Schumer plays Renee, a pleasantly plump career girl with low self-esteem in New York City. The opening moments set the stage for the kind of comedy this is: She unrealistically breaks her bike at spinning class, has a skinny clothing store attendant tell her she’ll need to shop online to find something in her size, and she literally makes a baby cry just by smiling at the tyke. What writer/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein seem to be going for is that this is how women in general feel treated by society because of unrealistic norms related to beauty. That message gets lost in the humor, however; we’re supposed to be laughing at Renee’s misfortune, but I felt sorry for her. Or maybe I just saw the movie with an audience full of jerks.

Then, a revelation: Renee bangs her head, and comes to believing she’s the most beautiful girl in the world. Now instilled with confidence beyond measure, she’s more flirtatious, gets her dream job, and is treated better by others. Mind you, everyone else still sees the same old Renee. What a great message this is for everyone, not just women: The way you see yourself has tremendous value, and will lead others to see you in a better light regardless of physical appearance.

If only Kohn and Silverstein were able to mine more laughs from the premise. Schumer did not write the script, and you can’t help but think the comedy would have more bite, and the writing would be sharper, if she had a larger role in the pre-production process. Her performance is quite good, and gutsy, particularly during a bikini contest, but the comedy misfires on too many jokes and as a whole is underwhelming.

The supporting actors are fine but unremarkable. Michelle Williams uses a high pitch voice that’s amusing in spots as Renee’s boss; Rory Scovel is sweet, albeit not that funny, as the love interest; Aidy Bryant and Busy Philips aren’t given much to work with as Renee’s friends; Emily Ratajkowski is effective as Renee’s pretty girl acquaintance; and the underutilized Adrian Martinez gets consistent laughs as Renee’s co-worker.

“I Feel Pretty” is a movie you’ll enjoy and find cute, but not enough to eagerly recommend it to others. Then again, this isn’t for middle-aged dudes like me. This is best enjoyed by a group of girl friends after a few glasses of wine. <Toasting> So here’s to you, ladies – thank you for being you!

Did you know?
After the trailer debuted the film was accused of body shaming women; Schumer responded by saying that was a misconception, and the film is really about much more. She was right.

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