How come no one makes a body positivity movie with fat guys? How come even in a movie that is supposed to be about liking how you look; the fat guy is still the weirdo loser who is the go-to for poop jokes? There is a lot to decompress here about this film. I Feel Pretty is the latest Amy Schumer film that has everyone talking due to 1. The quality of the film itself and 2. The message behind the film and how empowering it is (or was supposed to be). I mean, if you watch the movie, the message I get is that it takes a traumatic brain injury in order for you to actually feel good about yourself.
Let’s start with the film and then talk about the reactions. I Feel Pretty is about a 30 something woman named Renée Barrett living in the heart of New York City. She goes about her normal daily routine with people being cartoonishly rude to her because she’s a bit overweight. During a spin class, she gets into an accident and smacks her head on a spinning bike, the injury causes her to believe she looks like the person she wanted to look like and not the person she is. At least that’s what I’m assuming considering the fact we never see the so-called ‘different person’ Renee sees in the movie, but goes around for large portions of it under the impression that it is two different people. Her sense of delusion causes her to get a new job, find a boyfriend, gain rock star confidence. Look you know where the story is going and that’s the film’s biggest problem.
The story is very predictable, you know exactly where the film is going and what is about to happen. This makes the movie very hard to engage with because it is so paint by the numbers. You get Schumer’s textbook awkward comedy bit where she tries to ramble through ad-libbing her way to a laugh and trust me if this was a Rated-R movie, 90% of her comedy would have been about her vagina. The love angle is pretty weak because outside of the running gag that Renee’s boyfriend is a Soy Boy, they spend too much time being awkward with each other to believe they have any real chemistry as a couple. They just seem like two desperate people who haven’t been with anyone in a while hooking up. They do have one genuinely funny scene at a Bikini contest where Schumer displays some charm to make it feel like the film is turning for the better but ultimately the movie drags on about 20 minutes too long. Plot points are left dangling; supporting characters aren’t given enough depth, and the message is one that could have been done much better. I Feel Pretty is better than Snatched but is still another step down for Schumer since Trainwreck.
Now for the other stuff. I’ve heard the term ‘Woke comedy’ a lot this week and let’s be honest, that is exactly what this is. Amy Schumer thought she was making a female empowering film that was going to promote body positivity and discourage fat shaming. These are normally the type of subjects that the progressive crowd eats up, but as shown earlier this week with the reaction to A Quiet Place, you can never make the progressive left happy even when you try. Christian Toto wrote a piece earlier this week highlighting the critical reaction to this film and non-surprisingly, they were having none of Schumer’s wokeness.
Some critics like Kristy Puchko from Pajiba calls I Feel Pretty “mean-spirited, unfunny, and vapid as its infuriating heroine.”
Others such as Inkoo Kang from The Wrap called the film “An honest-to-God fiasco. Virtually every single aspect of this rigidly unfunny comedy is botched, from the characters to the plot, the themes to the core message.”
But the real anger came from critics who felt like Schumer’s “whiteness” made her the wrong star of this movie in the first place.
The LA Times’ Justin Chang wrote
“If the idea was to feature a woman marginalized by her appearance, wouldn’t a bolder, more progressive version of this story have cast a relative unknown, perhaps even a woman of color, someone without Schumer’s distracting white-feminist baggage and celebrity profile?”
The New York Post’s Sara Stewart writes
“With seemingly no understanding of how tone-deaf it might be to cast a straight, white, able-bodied blonde like Schumer as victimized by society’s judgment, the lazily written “I Feel Pretty” takes a talented comic and casts her in the worst possible light”
E. Oliver Whitney at ScreenCrush.
“In 2018, as the film industry is still reckoning with the revelations of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, a movie where a woman wants to be catcalled and ogled by gross dudes in order to feel validated feels incredibly ill-advised.”
At a certain point, I have to ask myself “Who are these movies for?” Obviously, I’m not the target audience for this movie but it looks like 2/3rds of the people who are in the target audience find it dumb or not quite woke (SJW) enough. I mean, I really don’t want to defend Amy Schumer here but at what point will people like Schumer realize that pandering to progressives isn’t worth it and start making movies for us normies again? One thing is certain, nobody wins when films like this are released…the actors, the moviegoers, and Hollywood’s domestic box office all take an L.