Rob Reviews "I Feel Pretty"
One of the dangers of the proliferation of data through technology is the “altering” that comes with it. In the old school, it was referred to as airbrushing because photographers and editors could take images and literally use an airbrush to enhance things to make them more attractive. From products to people, it could be seen everywhere, but it was more done by professionals that made a ton of money because of their skills. Now, it is known as Photoshopping, and any person with a rudimentary knowledge of computers can change anything they want. The further danger of this is the impossible standards that it sets for the average Joe that we tend to compare ourselves to. With “I Feel Pretty,” writer-directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein look to the past and combine it with the present to address this issue.
Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) works for a cosmetic company in their online division located in the basement of a Chinese restaurant on the other side of town from the corporate office. She does not have the best self-image, but is trying to better herself, and after a SoulCycle accident that causes her head trauma, she sees herself as nothing short of gorgeous. Granted, to everyone else she is exactly the same, but this new vision of herself gives her confidence to pursue her dreams at the head office working for Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) and perhaps finding love. At the same time, this “new look” starts to distance herself from her friends Jane (Busy Philipps) and Vivian (Aidy Bryant) as her rise to infamy increases.
Here is my thing here: I didn’t love this film, but I also don’t have any venom to throw at it. Part of it has to be that I know that I am not the target demographic for it, but its message of believing in yourself and striving to be happy with who you are is one that is done very well and should resonate with said target audience. Schumer does what she does in most of the projects she has done to date, even with a few scenes here and there that appear to be written for her style of comedy. This film also reminded me how underrated Michelle Williams is as an actor. Sure, this is nothing that Academy voters will be looking at when we reach year’s end, but she takes the role of the corporate head that does not taken seriously due to details beyond her control and makes her sympathetic and adorable to the point where I just wanted to give Avery a hug and let her know it would all work out.
It did feel about twenty minutes longer than it should have been, and there was a certain point where I felt the need to get some fresh air to simply get away from some of the story that pushed the envelope more than I was comfortable with. There are also a couple of sub-plots, mainly dealing with Avery’s brother, Grant LeClaire (Tom Hopper) as well as the namesake of the company in Lily LeClaire (Lauren Hutton). As much as I appreciate their work, the characters simply could have been removed with no real impact to the story itself.
Again, I know that I will see both better and worse films this year, but this one didn’t quite stick the proverbial landing for me. I cannot in good conscience not recommend it, but I think the people I would recommend it to would be a narrower list than normal.