‘I Feel Pretty’ is an almost hellish experience
I Feel Pretty (Rated C)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Busy Philipps, Rory Scovel
Dwight’s rating: Watchable
You probably know what’s said about roads – what they are paved with on the way to the underworld – and good intentions.
If that is indeed the case, the new film, “I Feel Pretty”, must be located alongside, or even at the end of the world’s biggest, widest super-highway!
It shouldn’t have been like this. At its heart, this comedy is a noble effort at addressing serious issues affecting millions of people all over the world.
But it is so painfully and exhaustingly executed that what could have been an amusing and touching film is often reduced to an irritating, unmitigated disaster.
The story dives head-on into some of the recurring themes talented star Amy Schumer has tackled on her various standup comedy shows and her former TV series, “Inside Amy Schumer” —her weight and appearance.
In the film, a woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis wakes from a fall believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence, she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realizes her appearance never changed?
Somehow, the great potential of this average-woman-foolishly-believes-she’s-a-goddess premise is at once both squandered and yet overplayed. While exceedingly preposterous and wearing itself thin, about halfway through, you still get the feeling that there was so much more that could have been done with it.
In fact, the entire picture exudes this underdeveloped aura, never fully committing to any aspects of its various storylines. The “Big” meets “The Devil Wears Prada” meets “Shallow Hal” meets “Bridesmaids” meets Schumer’s own groundbreaking “Trainwreck” fails to approach the exuberance of any of those films, vacillating between far too subtly and casually touching on points that could have been comedic gold, to then overdoing the most ridiculous, ludicrous and tiresome nonsense.
As such, with constant peaks and valleys (mainly deep, deep valleys!), the rare inspired moments and many of those important messages about judging people based on their looks are pretty much lost in a movie that seems uncertain and uncomfortable about itself.
The biggest disappointment is how much it wastes the talents of the fantastic Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”, “Brokeback Mountain”). Known more for her powerfully intense dramatic roles, Williams actually steals the show with her surprise comic chops as Schumer’s character, Renee’s, airheaded boss. Again though, it feels like she is not effectively used at all.
And so, overall, it’s as if we’re seeing the first cut of the film — like it was accidentally prematurely released before several more weeks or months of editing.
Sadly, for the most part, other than a pleasant cameo by former Miss Universe Bahamas, the beautiful Anastagia Pierre, “I Feel Pretty” is an almost hellish experience. Following last year’s even more hellish “Snatched”, this could spell trouble for Schumer’s burgeoning film career. The possible saving grace being that, unlike “Trainwreck”, which she penned herself, she’s merely starring in these unfortunate comedies.
There’s little to suggest Schumer doesn’t have another “Trainwreck” in her. So here’s hoping she sticks to the tracks and gets off those roads!
• Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.