Amy Schumer tackles body image
(AP) — If you’ve ever walked into a store and were embarrassed to tell the salesperson your real size, or entered the gym locker room and wanted to hide, you’re part of the target audience for Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty.” Whatever age or gender you happen to be.
Self-esteem issues related to body image are, without doubt, a social epidemic — a painful and dangerous one, for many girls and young women. And there’s nothing controversial about that message, though judging by some of the heated online reaction to the trailer for “I Feel Pretty,” you’d think the film was proposing a new conspiracy theory about JFK’s assassination.
The real problem with “I Feel Pretty,” written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, is not in its message or conception, but in its ragtag execution. On the plus side, it’s often a pleasantly entertaining ride with the always appealing Schumer, and its heart is in the right place. It also features a truly terrific comic turn by Michelle Williams (drama, musicals, now comedy — is there anything she can’t do?) On the minus side, it muddles its message with an overstuffed script, choppy editing, and some unnecessarily over-the-top moments. Not to mention a sappy ending that actually comes close to contradicting its own premise.
Schumer is Renee Bennett, a young woman who looks in the mirror and doesn’t like what she sees. What she sees, is, well, Amy Schumer — and that’s one of the things that has annoyed some people, who say that if Schumer epitomizes unattractiveness, what about the rest of us? Still, the actress is plenty believable as an average-looking, Spanx-wearing woman who aspires to look more like the Amazonian supermodels she runs into at SoulCycle, and at the cosmetics company where she works, relegated to an offsite basement in Chinatown.
What’s less believable is the overly negative reaction of some of those around her. A pretty saleswoman immediately approaches Renee in a chic clothing store and says, “You can probably find your size online.” A baby even breaks into tears at the sight of her. OK, that’s a little much.
“I Feel Pretty,” an STX Entertainment release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America “for sexual content, some partial nudity, and language.” Running time: 110 minutes. Two stars out of four.