Kurt Loder Movie Reviews

Movie Review: I Feel Pretty

Amy Schumer can't make this message-bearing comedy really work.

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Huayi Brothers Pictures

As one of the dozen or so people who liked last year's Amy Schumer film, Snatched, I wish I could muster more enthusiasm for her new one. I Feel Pretty tells the story of a New Yorker named Renee Bennett—a Website worker for a high-end cosmetics company—who is depressed by the fact that she's fat and unattractive. Then she falls and hits her head during a SoulCycle spin class, and when she comes to, she's convinced that she's beautiful. Nothing physical has changed—she looks exactly the same—but she has a sudden new self-confidence that changes everything about the way she interacts with the world.

If it need be pointed out, Schumer is hardly "unattractive," and I don't think she's "fat"—although she's obviously uncowed by the images of chic emaciation that pummel women at every cultural turn. (In a couple of scenes, she blithely invites comparison to the goddessy Emily Ratajkowski, who has a small role as a gym patron.) In the first half of the movie—before it wobbles off the rails—Schumer plays the female social plight for poignant comedy. On a dating site Renee finds nothing but rejection. In a clothes store, she finds nothing in her size and is advised by a contemptuous attendant to try shopping online. Contemplating her body in a mirror brings her almost to tears. And we hear her wondering what it must be like to be "undeniably pretty"—a melancholy turn of phrase.

After the fortuitous spin-class accident, Renee decides to take charge of her aimless life. She's had it with her menial job in a cramped Chinatown workspace. Now fueled by a new fearlessness, she marches into her company's model-strewn midtown headquarters, all but demands a position as the office receptionist, and starts making herself indispensable to loosely wrapped CEO Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams, owning every scene in which she figures). Avery, who suggests a hummingbird hooked up to a Valium drip, is preparing to launch a new downmarket line of cosmetics for the masses, and she thinks the clearly downmarket Renee can provide some useful marketing guidance. Which she can, and does. Soon she's being groomed for higher things.

Does any of this sound familiar? A dozen years ago, in The Devil Wears Prada, another frumpy duckling, played by Anne Hathaway, was likewise transformed by an entry-level job in the fashion world. Cinematographer Florian Ballhaus, who shot that movie, also shot this one, and its crisp corporate offices and cobbly downtown street scenes create a similar visual texture. But these echoes of the earlier film do no favors for I Feel Pretty—they only recall Prada's superior craft and its unique charm.

The movie is undone by its script, written by rom-com specialists Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, who also directed. They've provided Renee with two cliché friends (Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant) whose function is mainly to watch poutingly as their pal is lured away by the fashionable snoboisie, and later to hammer home to her the inevitable lesson that what's really important in life isn't beauty, it's being your very best you. In addition to these two trite characters, there's also a long barroom bikini contest, complete with wet t-shirt, that goes on too long when it shouldn't be going on at all.

Much more of a problem is a scene about midway through the film in which Renee enters a restaurant to rendezvous with a mild-mannered guy she recently met (Rory Scovel). They spot each other across the room at the same time—each one of them looking straight at the other—and then Renee whips out her phone to send a text telling the guy that she's still at work and won't be coming to this place where she clearly already is. This is a baffling narrative lapse, and you wonder how the picture can possibly recover.

Turns out it can't. Schumer herself is lively and likable throughout the film, but she's unable to surmount its puddle-of-goo ending, which is set at a company launch party at which Renee delivers a triumphant address to the many women on hand. Some of what she has to say is gently affecting. ("When we're little girls, we have all the confidence in the world. But you lose all that.") Mostly, though, what we get is vintage feminist boilerplate—a litany of high-blown go-girl bromides that are a disservice to the subtler emotional issues the movie raises. It's a regrettably missed opportunity.

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  1. Then she falls and hits her head during a SoulCycle spin class, and when she comes to, she’s convinced that she’s beautiful.

    So… a movie about Amy Schumer.

    1. Well… except for the spin class part.

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    2. Actually, pondering it a bit, isn’t this the same “hook” as was used in Peggy Sue Got Married?

  2. The Devil Wears Pravda

    1. No more calls, please, we have a winner.

    2. Wow.

      +1, just +1 man.

  3. OT.

    “Chris Christie’s official portrait to cost taxpayers $85G: report”

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..eport.html

    To be fair, the paint alone will probably be in the five figures.

    1. With that kind of money, you could feed…the governor for half a week.

    2. To be fair, did Christie get final say on what state of NJ was willing to pay, or did legislature or the new gov’s minions o.k. this? By the way, NJ, they have some new technique called “photography” that obviates the need for portraits.

      1. It really doesn’t matter. Christie simply shouldn’t have agreed to be part of this farce.

        Why, after all, is anyone *paying* ANYTHING to have a picture of the governor taken, let alone paying to have it painted in oil.

        These aren’t supposed to be third world shitholes with pictures of ‘El Generalissimo’ hanging on everyone’s wall.

    3. I heard that the state of NJ is approaching Dunkin’ Donuts for sponsorship rights

    4. Not to mention, they’re gonna have to go to a specialty supplier for sufficient canvas. There just ain’t as many sailmakers in business as there used to be.

      1. Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey have gone out of business and have some tents they can sell.

  4. The bit about dumping the guy as she shows up for the date may have been baffling to the narrative, but it sounds pretty spot on for the real-life feelings that women have.

    I’ve had many a friend complain that she just doesn’t have any dating prospects – even though they have plenty of guys asking them out all the time. “That doesn’t count… they’re losers.” is the common refrain.

    I enjoy a good romantic comedy, but it is kinda hard to get too worked up over a woman who can’t find a date. All most women have to do is stop saying no. And yes, Hollywood, even the fat chicks. One of my good friends is … uh… less attractive than most. Physically, anyway. But she has confidence. And she does just fine with the guys. When she was single, she had plenty of suitors. Now she’s not single any more.

    So the message of confidence rings true, even if the movie is a dud.

    At least it isn’t another movie where an execrable woman who is about to get married to a great, rich guy meets another great guy… so she dumps her fiance to run off with her true love. Man, I hate that plot line.

    1. The problem you describe is not limited to women. I have a couple of guy friends who are, shall we say, hardly GQ material. They belong to all the basic dating sites and reject six of seven applicants because the women don’t look like supermodels. My conclusion is that they don’t actually want any relationships. They want their fantasy and reality will never satisfy them.

      1. That’s basically because the reality of their own selves will never satisfy them.

      2. I doubt those men complain about not being able to find women. They complain about not being able to find attractive women. And if you look around, most women look more like the porcine Schumer than even the “girl next door”. 20 lbs, long hair and no tattoos make a big difference.

  5. “When we’re little girls, we have all the confidence in the world. But you lose all that.”

    Girls are told every day on every commercial in every TV show from every corporation that they are strong and beautiful and brave and stronger than men.

    Victimhood is a hell of a drug.

    1. For real. Its reached such a cloying, insincere pitch, I think we’re about to see a whole new slew of female neuroses, as they realize the bullshit they’ve been fed isn’t true.

      I actually think AmyS is pretty funny, its too bad she’s let PC crapola hijack her humor. While she indeed isn’t “fat”, this movie will be championed by many a female as a way to normalize obesity.

    2. “Girls are told every day on every commercial in every TV show from every corporation that they are strong and beautiful and brave and stronger than men.”

      Yeah, and they still don’t believe it — relying on reality jolts like Wonder Woman and Red Sparrow for sustenance. And then there’s the campaign that says, basically, “if you support me I will be strong”. News flash: strength appears when nobody supports you and you push ahead anyway. I grew up with several women who did so and somehow never made a movement out of it.

      1. Reality jolts? They are told they’re strong, and if they can’t do something, the rules are changed. I applaud the truly strong women I know, who don’t feel the need to broadcast it.

  6. It’s a regrettably missed opportunity.

    Sounds like Kurt found skipping this movie to be a regrettably missed opportunity.

  7. “If it need be pointed out, Schumer is hardly “unattractive,” and I don’t think she’s “fat””

    Kurt Loder and John should go bowling. Maybe join the same fantasy football league.

    1. She’s not skinny, but she’s not shops-at-Walmart-at-3am fat either.

      1. I mean, she’s still a couple orders of magnitude below Chris Christie.

        Then again, so are many planetoids, so that’s not saying much.

      2. And here I figured that the 3 AM shoppers were all the skinny dopies coming off of their fentanyl high.

        I’m certainly not about to wake up at 3 AM to find out.

        PS … Nobody at my age stays up until 3 AM. Holy hell that’s crazy talk.

        1. Well, there are those too, depending on where you live.

          (Around here, the late-night tweakers all seem to prefer Kroger.)

        2. Well, there are the fatties, but 3AM is the end of the workday for certain hot-woman occupations…

          1. Naw dude. The good strip clubs don’t let out until 6.

      3. As an aside, it’s weird to watch What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? now – one of the major plot points is that Johnny Depp and Retard Leo DiCaprio’s mom is so fat that she’s ashamed to leave the house (and when she finally does people gawk at her), and yet within a decade of the film’s release she’d be a normal sight on any street in America.

        1. Seriously. Nobody things twice about an obese person anymore. It used to be a bit shameful to drive those electric carts around the market. Now it’s practically a badge of honor. “Look at me! I can still get by even though I’m fat as fuck! Screw all of you can stay away from my Ring Dings!”

          1. It really doesn’t matter once you learn to take people as they are and treat them as they treat you instead of wondering if you have chosen socially acceptable arm candy.

    2. I noticed that and thought…”She’s like, a 6. As in “After six beers, she might be okay, but still not first choice.” And that was kind of generous.

      Later, Loder has to forgo the use of the perfectly applicable “problematic” because of its misuse in current year. “More problematic is a scene…” or “More of a problem is a scene…”. The word is MEANT to be used in this situation but has acquired such a coat of cringe that you can’t credibly use it any more. Faugh.

    3. He hasn’t seen her lately. She went from chubby to straight up fat.

      1. Her cousin Chuck still has bigger breasts.

        1. His name is Robert Paulson.

  8. She was funny when we didn’t know that much about her political views. Shut up and tell jokes.

    1. Was there a time when we didn’t know about her political views?

      I must have missed that.

      1. Yeah, when I caught a bit of her act years ago and she was funny. At the beginning of their careers we usually don’t know anyone’s politics.

    2. She used to be on Red Eye and wasn’t full retard on there. I never thought she was hilarious but would occasionally say funny things. Then she got famous and went full SJW. And if we’re taking an unofficial tally, she’s fat and her personality makes her downright unbearable.

      1. The downfall started when Patrice O’Neal died. I’m not saying that it was the CAUSE, but her shift into SJW politics occurred shortly after.

  9. Then she falls and hits her head during a SoulCycle spin class

    Is this a product plug? Am I supposed to know the difference between a SoulCycle spin class and a regular spin class?

    1. I don’t even know what any kind of spin class is.

    2. It’s the Soul Train version

  10. Does any of this sound familiar? A dozen years ago, in The Devil Wears Prada, another frumpy duckling, played by Anne Hathaway, was likewise transformed by an entry-level job in the fashion world.

    I don’t know Kurt, it really sounds more like almost 20 yrs. ago when Paltrow and Black did Shallow Hal.

    1. Holy fuck…that move really is almost 20 years old.

    2. Yep, that was my first thought. Followed by the realization that that movie could probably not be made today.

    3. Anne Hathaway aw a frumpy duckling? Goddam, I’ve heard of “willing suspension of disbelief,” but that’s ridiculous.

      1. *as

      2. She wasn’t frumpy, she was normal. She became haut because she bowed to the fashion goddesses, not because she found out about anything wonderful about herself. I enjoyed the flick mostly because of Stanley Tucci, whose acting shows that on-screen chemistry need not depend on hot sex.

  11. I’m really happy Rory Scovel is finding work, and I recommend his stand up to people. He’s pretty good.

  12. if the movie is like the review i’ll quite watching in the first quarter

  13. This movie is all about Schumer responding to her critics (who call her unoriginal and fat) by embracing the suicidally stupid “fat acceptance” movement. Granted, they should be free to do that. But we should be free to laugh at them.

    1. I prefer to ignore them, other than in the comments here.

  14. This movie is all about Schumer responding to her critics (who call her unoriginal and fat) by embracing the suicidally stupid “fat acceptance” movement. Granted, she should be free to do that. But we should be free to laugh at her.

  15. If you’re rich enough to afford a personal chef, you have no excuse for being fat. Personal chefs can whip you up incredible meals that are also low cal/good for you.

    1. I tried that, called my wife my personal chef. Lost lots of weight running away while she chased me down the street

      1. One more reason American women suck – this is likely true.

  16. Hey Kurt, If you ever review that stupid HBO Paterno movie with Al Pacino, be sure to check this out first. Newsweek just chickened out on the biggest crime story of the millennium. This story was by John Ziegler and Ralph Cipriano, both serious journalists. The whole story is hiding in plain site at Ziegler’s site:

    http://www.framingpaterno.com/

    I know, it looks like a conspiracy site, but look at some of the links, podcasts, videos. Reason likes to talk about new types of media. There’s never been anything like this! This is a, I don’t know, … a multimedia reality miniseries. It’s still happening in real time. You can go on Twitter (John Ziegler @Zigmanfreud) and participate! I challenge you to find anything on cable like this. Here’s the spiked Newsweek piece:

    http://www.framingpaterno.com/…..ast-moment

    Hey, Reason commenters. Don’t let this story pass your favorite magazine by. Here’s your chance to make a big splash again. All memories of the last time you’ve done anything like this have long gone down the wood chipper.

  17. And when it bombs she’ll blame Trump. the GOP, men. white people, white men, global warming, Russia, Wikileaks, the alt-right, the cisheteropatriarchy and so forth.

    1. The only thing she should blame are white carbs.

  18. Does anything in this movie go beyond “Shallow Hal” or “Nanny McPhee”? Nah, didn’t think so

  19. They spot each other across the room at the same time?each one of them looking straight at the other?and then Renee whips out her phone to send a text telling the guy that she’s still at work and won’t be coming to this place where she clearly already is.

    So, when she gains a little confidence and status, her response is to turn into a judgmental asshole who blatantly stomps on the feelings of others without qualm?

    Sounds accurate.

    1. Every teen rags to riches movie ever…

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  21. it’s cringe comedy which is even lower in the scale than puns, I’d rather go on holiday with Ted Nugent and Ted Cruz.

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