Amy Schumer's latest comedic offering, "I Feel Pretty," has a simple premise (and no B story): a chubby 20something young adult woman, Renee, trying to fit in to a world of emaciated females, impossible ideals of beauty and vanity sizes...is really struggling. Gyms, mirrors, dating websites, boutique clothing stores all serve to remind her that she doesn't fit in. Literally. However, she's whip smart, runs the website for a cosmetic firm and has great ideas for the company (this will play out in a big way later on).
The film easily holds our attention without being precious or precocious. It references the wishful movie "Big" while at the same time actually imitating it. Renee makes a wish that comes true and...predictably it gets reversed by the end of the film. She becomes what she always wanted to be..."beautiful." Or does she? We don't actually get to see what she sees, and it's better that way.
Renee begins working it with such confidence that everyone goes along for the ride, no matter what she boldly undertakes.
However, she begins to believe her own fake news and live the lie, alienating her friends and turning everyone off with her obnoxiousness.
Amy gets in her contraception and STI jokes, but "I Feel Pretty" is the least crude of her crude films and is rated PG-13. (I wouldn't let my 13 year old see it.) And, as you know, all PG-13 films have to have the pre-requisite pre-marital sex, because if they don't...how will our teens be indoctrinated?! And...maybe our precious "right" to pre-marital sex might be taken away!
The exhibitionist in Amy--as usual--has a hard time keeping her clothes on. Methinks the lady doth disrobe too much. Her boyfriend is very meek and she leads. And initiates sex, of course.
She sees that other people have issues as well. One rich guy questions: do people just love me for my money? In the end, she realizes, "There's no magic, it's just me," and gives a stirring "love yourself just as you are" speech to women, noting that when we're little girls we have tremendous confidence, but then we lose it.
Interestingly, however, she does, finally, also want the affirmation of her boyfriend who "always saw her," and loved her just the way she was, which is refreshing in today's "women don't need men" storytelling climate.
Amy--although a true gutter queen--is also a considerably talented, and makes an art of self-deprecating humor. I seriously wonder how much of "I Feel Pretty" is autobiographical? I hope and pray that maybe someday she can lose the vulgarity to a very large degree.
Want to empower girls/women? Skip "I Feel Pretty" and try Irish step dancing.
--Lauren Hutton and Michelle Williams also do fine acting jobs.
--The book "Reviving Ophelia," about pre-teen/teen girls losing their confidence is foundational. In this age of social media and the mainstreaming of porn, it could really use an update!
--Renee's speech: "WHEN WE'RE LITTLE GIRLS WE HAVE SUCH CONFIDENCE. WE DOUBT OURSELVES AS WE GROW UP. BUT WHAT IF WE WERE STRONGER THAN THAT? WHAT IF WE DIDN'T CARE WHAT WE LOOK LIKE? WHAT I AM IS BETTER THAN ALL THAT. CUZ I'M ME. THIS NEW LINE OF COSMETICS IS FOR EVERY GIRL WHO IS READY TO BELIEVE IN HERSELF. YOU are BEAUTIFUL! WE ARE ALL THE FACE OF LILY LECLAIR! (THE MAKEUP LINE.)"