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I Feel Pretty
I Feel Pretty is the kind of benign, saccharine, yet positive and heartwarming comedy we used to get in the ‘80s. The kind where the protagonist wants a quick fix for what they perceive to be their biggest problem (But is actually a product of their neurosis and insecurity), get it through magical means, realize that they were fine all along, and go back to their normal lives having learned the lesson. I Feel Pretty is so blatant about following this formula, that it directly references Big in order to get its protagonist to make a wish to be pretty.
One of the biggest knocks on the film seems to be that it treats Amy Schumer, who is an attractive woman, as if she's hot garbage, so that its premise of a woman who hates her looks suddenly thinking she's hot and gaining tons of confidence could work. This casting choice is part of what I call the "squint to see the ugly" move in Hollywood, where attractive people are cast as what's supposed to be repulsively unattractive nerds, and you as the audience member have to squint and imagine another person in their place for the narrative to work. Remember The Spectacular Now, where the gorgeous Shailene Woodley was supposed to be a disgusting nerd no man would dare date?
On one hand, the point of the story is that no matter how attractive Schumer's character Renee is on the outside, it's her inner demons and insecurities that make her think she's ugly and undesirable. She has a tech-oriented desk job at a high-end fragrance company, yet she wants to be a receptionist because she thinks that's what pretty people are for. There's something substantial in the film's theme regarding how women can be brainwashed into thinking being dumb but pretty should make them happy, instead of using their skills and education to further themselves. As Renee hits her head, suddenly thinks she's super hot, and snatches that receptionist position, she gradually finds out that the "actual hot" people she looks up to suffer from similar insecurities, solidifying the simple but effective fable approach of the film.
The script's assertion that her "ugliness" comes from the inside thematically works. However, the movie also takes place in a universe where everyone actually finds Renee to be physically repulsive. She complains that no man has ever flirted with her, ever. That's absolutely ridiculous, and if screenwriter/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein walked around a couple of supermarkets in their neighborhoods, they'd see women of all looks and sizes being wooed by men of all looks and sizes. It could have been an interesting angle to have men hit on Renee, but for her to not even consider that as being hit on because she deems herself to be so undesirable.
Therefore, I Feel Pretty is a bit mixed in its messaging, but it nevertheless manages to patch the narrative into a third act that should offer some insight and clarity to people suffering from body image issues. This is more of a dramedy than an outright comedy, with lengthy sections devoid of comedic set-pieces. Nevertheless, it manages to be witty and sometimes very amusing in small chunks, and that's enough to keep it going.
This is a very brightly lit comedy, and the 1080p transfer captures the popping colors and that clean digital look fairly well. Don't expect spectacular cinematography or a demo disc material here, but it gets the job done.
There's no reason for this dialogue-heavy comedy to support a DTS-HD 7.1 track, but here we are. Even with the added 2 channels, don't expect much surround presence, other than the occasional EDM-style music that drills the ears. However, the dialogue is clear.
Deleted Scenes: 8 minutes of excised material. Nothing special here.
Gag Reel: The typical set of bloopers found in almost every comedy release these days.
Being Pretty: This one's a bit insulting. The cast briefly talks about what "being pretty" means to them, but it's barely a minute long.
I Feel Pretty is a bit confused about what it wants to say regarding confidence versus body image. That being said, it's an affable dramedy with some sweet spots to keep one going.
Oktay Ege Kozak is a film critic and screenwriter based in Portland, Oregon. He also writes for The Playlist, The Oregon Herald, and Beyazperde.com