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I Feel Pretty — dizzy with contradictions

I Feel Pretty — dizzy with contradictions

May 03
10:43 2018

Amy Schumer in ‘I Feel Pretty’

Which version of I Feel Pretty to review? On the one hand we have a candyfloss Manhattan comedy with a warm message about self-worth — on the other a nightmare riot of body shaming. Fine: I’ll try for both.

The star is Amy Schumer, her character Renee Barrett, a chipper lover of the beauty industry. Yet for all her can-do spirit, she is shut out from the world she adores — an ordinary woman shoo’d online by willowy shop assistants just as her job sees her tending the website of a high-end cosmetics house from a gloomy basement in Chinatown. Then comes a concussive blow to the head — from which she wakes convinced she looks like the models she has always longed to be. The comedy is mostly mined from the gulf between what she sees in the mirror and her actual appearance. I did warn you.

The thematic call to just believe in yourself is so blunt as to be counter-productive — as if only a weakling would be overpowered by the conglomerates of the beauty business. For all the self-loathing, the tone is manically vanilla, bad guys not so bad and mean girls just misguided. At one point, barmily, the closest thing to a villain is Renee herself. Amid the bedlam, Michelle Williams is great as an insecure beauty heiress, while Schumer is Schumer — a likeable comedian in need of a better movie, or at least one that doesn’t leave you dizzy with contradictions.


The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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