As sweet as “I Feel Pretty” often is, it’s also at times depressing. Except for that wallpaper. Rating: 2 stars out of 4.
The sweet-natured rom-com “I Feel Pretty” has a well-meaning message, but it gets lost in the telling. Amy Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a New Yorker who lives in a whimsically peacock-wallpapered apartment (seriously, it’s insanely distracting and I wanted it) and suffers from low self-esteem. How anyone in possession of such wallpaper could have this problem is beyond me, but OK. Renee, inspired by a viewing of “Big,” wishes to be beautiful — and one day, after suffering a head injury at Soul Cycle, she wakes up believing it’s true. She looks exactly the same to the world — and to us — but she now sees herself to be stunning, and throws herself into her life with a new self-confidence, quickly acquiring a glamorous new job and a nice new boyfriend (Rory Scovel).
Writer/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein give “I Feel Pretty” a bouncy pace, and Schumer’s Renee is a likable, vulnerable heroine. The cosmetic company where Renee lands a receptionist job — sitting at a front desk that’s intended to look like some sort of desert oasis — has a funny, “Devil Wears Prada”-ish quality, particularly Michelle Williams’ turn as a baby-voiced executive who has her own self-esteem issues. (And an uncanny way of speaking without moving her face.)
But while the film’s body-positive message is a welcome one — Renee, of course, eventually learns to love herself exactly as she is, and to question why she was made to feel that her appearance wasn’t good enough — the road there is a little bumpy. The movie’s humor depends on us finding it funny that a woman who looks like Amy Schumer (which is to say attractive and blond) would be confident about her appearance. And we’re supposed to admire Renee’s chutzpah in entering a bikini contest, while laughing at how her not-quite-model-thin body compares with the other contestants. As sweet as “I Feel Pretty” often is, it’s also at times depressing. Except for that wallpaper.
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★★ “I Feel Pretty,” with Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, Tom Hooper, Lauren Hutton, Adrian Martinez. Written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein. 110 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some partial nudity, and language. Multiple theaters.