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Apr 19 2018
PRETTY Good: A Review Of Amy Schumer's I FEEL PRETTY Comments (0)

Pretty1Does this bottle of Hidden Valley dressing make me look fat? (Image via STX)

I loved Trainwreck, hated every second of Snatched, and wound up liking Amy Schumer's latest, I Feel Pretty, somewhere in-between.

The truth is, if you can BEWARE OF PLOTHOLES, the film is funny and strangely sweet.

Schumer is inexplicably polarizing, but I find her brand of wouldn't-it-be-awful-if-this-schtick-were-serious? comedy frequently guffaw-inducing, often socially provocative and rarely offensive.

In I Feel Pretty, she does some of what she did in Trainwreck — she acts. This time, she does so by pouring her preemptively self-deprecating, ultimately confident persona into the form of Renee, a person who looks a lot like Amy but who has none of her boldness. Renee, obsessed with beauty, is thick and somewhat plain, but certainly not the disaster she sees when she looks in the mirror. Because she is employed by beauty brand Lily LeClaire (the eponymous owner is none other than Lauren Hutton) and distracted by the fabulous exploits of the moneyed, perfect-looking family behind it, her self-loathing is an ugly cycle.

One day, while self-consciously huffing through SoulCycle, she falls, banging her head. The effect is that she now sees herself as flawlessly beautiful, and Schumer shines in this incarnation, expressing palpable joy as she ogles the perfect body we can't see. (How she manages to think she's built any differently yet continues wearing the same sizes is beyond me.)

I've heard the criticism that Schumer isn't exactly a trainwreck to be playing this woman, but I would aruge it's important that Schumer's Renee is not so bad-looking to begin with — the point is that too many women (and not a few men) hate their looks who shouldn't — but it's all the funnier and less unkind to laugh with her as she begins strutting through life, imagining every man is drooling after her, and confidently asserting herself in a way she never has before.

It is a slow-building humor, but it's pretty funny watching Renee come into her own, clueless that she's doing it with her same ol' face and body. The turning point comes when she starts dating a cuteish guy (Rory Scovel) and enters a bikini contest to give him a treat. During this sequence, Renee became permanently loveable to me.

Unfortunately, the film has to spend time on a plot, and this one is pretty slapdash: MV5BNDU1NTk2NWUtNjA3YS00YTk3LThmM2MtMTQwMTMyMWQxZTYzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDg2MjUxNjM@._V1_SY1000_SX1500_AL_Renee's assertiveness has won her a front-desk job at Lily LeClaire and the attention of boss lady Avery LeClaire (a stunningly transformed, hysterically high-voiced Michelle Williams), leading to an overnight VP job helping the out-of-touch women at the company understand how to market a low-rent diffusion brand. Of course, along the way, Renee neglects her real friends (Aidy Bryant and an aggressively prettied-down Busy Philipps in thankless roles), lets all the pretty go to her head and eventually suffers another blow, one that returns her vision of herself I-feel-pretty-4to where it once was.

It all gets resolved in a way that makes zero sense, but there is enough charm and body-positivity messaging to make it go down easy. As with Trainwreck, Schumer's best bits are dramatic, but there is no denying the earthy humor when she envies the tiny-bodied Emily Rajajkowski, or to stifle the laughs when she first walks into her job interview, only to see a bunch of gazelle-like girls flitting about.

Worth a look if you can take it as it is — which is the movie's theme as well.