Let's start with a disclaimer. I am not of the age bracket for which this film was made for, I am not dating, I have never had a problem with my self-image and when my father offered me a nose job at 18, I turned him down and said this is what made my face.
And yet, I went to see this film with a friend and I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. I suppose my starting point is that Amy Schumer has a reputation as a no holds barred comedian and she has proved this time and time again, whether it has been through her skits for Comedy Central or her films, Trainwreck and Snatched that come to mind.
I Feel Pretty is her latest film. It is written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein and stars Amy Schumer. There are some guest appearances from some well-known models like Naomi Campbell.
Amy is Renee, a young girl who clearly has no self-confidence nor does she like what she sees when she looks in the mirror. My friend, who was with me, affirmed the importance of that damned photo on dating sights which has to be right to attract the hits. Seeing Renee and her friends trying to get away from that, with a series of silly photos and getting zero hits was telling indeed.
She has some of the problems of size, beauty and elegance, which we all have in differing doses and the scenes where she is turned away because of her size (she takes a double wide 9 for her feet) or breaks the exercise bike, made us squirm in our seats and want to extend a big comforting arm around her. The best type of comedy, of course, is exactly that, making you feel uncomfortable about the situation in front of you, yet laughing heartily at the scene.
She falls off a cycle bike and hits her head and when she comes round, it's as if she has had a transformation. She feels she is pretty and accomplished and everyone thinks so too. So in spite of the fact that nothing has changed physically, she gains the sort of confidence that models have and she sails into her "dream receptionist job" at Lilly LeClaire, a modelling and makeup company. Once there, she offers sensible and very important insights into how to make the "diffusion line" of their brand more user-friendly (read Target shoppers), much to the complete amusement and amazement of her bosses.
She also meets Ethan in a dry cleaning shop, who asks for her number. She thinks he is asking for her telephone number and she is overjoyed, but in fact, he was asking for her number in the queue - which is quite hilarious. For Renee, this is an affirmation that she is desirable and wanted.
The film goes on to show us her progression in the company but also how it all unravels when she wakes from her prettiness and realises that it is all in her head. She then struggles and worries about whether she will be recognised by her friends now that her prettiness has gone - but we all know that her prettiness is her awesome nature which is more than her curves and spandex underwear.
Does it have a happy ending? Well, I will let you check it out for yourself, but one thing I can tell you is that Schumer is at her best when she is doing her one-liners, which are laugh out loud moments in the cinema. I looked around to see who was in the audience and I was surprised to see that there were oldies like me, quite a few men, and lots of young women. Everyone had a good laugh.
Who would not laugh when she is quizzing a young pretty thing and asks her "Have you got the same number of ribs as I have?" or "Where are all your organs?"
The script is fast and funny. Where it failed for me is when she gets philosophical and a little maudlin. She doesn't have to spell it out to such a degree. We all know what she is getting at and it's an important message. We don't all look like supermodels or want to be them, so in some respects, that message seems a little out of the present times yet still resonates.
I do acknowledge that self-image and self-confidence occupies enough young minds for this film to be a useful and timely reminder of how important it is to have the confidence to be who you are and to do what you do best. This is the very essence of her message and one, which Schumer delivers in a side-splitting way to her fans.