I Feel Pretty is an average comedy about an average woman who bumps her head in a Soul Cycle class and suddenly believes she’s been transformed into the most gorgeous creature on the planet. The delusions give her newfound confidence to be fearless, carefree and to pursue her dreams and romantic interests as never before. And just like the main character Renee, played by Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), the movie itself is entertaining – yet flawed.
I Feel Pretty tackles themes we’ve seen before in body switching or body transformation films like Shallow Hal, Freaky Friday, The Nutty Professor and 13 Going on 30 (to name but a few). The main message is generally the same: it’s what’s inside that counts; stay true to yourself; and, perhaps most important – how you feel about yourself can affect how you are seen by others. It never hurts to reinforce that message, so kudos to Schumer and the writer/director team of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (He’s Just Not That Into You, How to Be Single, Never Been Kissed, The Vow) for delivering a solid PG-13 film that is relatable rather than raunchy.
There are no real villains in I Feel Pretty. Even the ‘beautiful people’ are shown to have insecurities, including wispy fashion heiress Avery LeClair (Michelle Williams) who comes to count on Renee’s input for launching a line of accessible beauty products for those of us who might pick up a blush at Target rather than Saks. Remember, even though Renee sees herself as a hottie – and thinks others do too- she really is just the same ol’ Renee, more ‘cute and quirky’ than blonde bombshell.
Perhaps I’m quibbling too much with a minor detail. But it really bugged me that Renee perceives herself to be svelte and toned, yet she doesn’t stop to question why all her (average-size) clothes still fit. A few other plot points don’t quite track as well as they could or should, including the way she treats her besties Vivian and Jane (endearingly and humorously played by Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips), her flirtation with the token hot guy Grant LeClair (Tom Hopper in an under-developed role), and her budding romance with incredibly-tolerant average guy Ethan (Rory Scovel). The performances are all solid. It’s just that some of the gags, reactions and character arcs don’t quite hit the mark, which makes I Feel Pretty a pretty good movie, but not a great one.