What I Feel Pretty gets right (and wrong)

Amy Schumer stars as Renee in I FEEL PRETTY Amy Schumer stars in I FEEL PRETTY via EPK
Amy Schumer stars as Renee in I FEEL PRETTY Amy Schumer stars in I FEEL PRETTY via EPK /

Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty is now in theaters and getting less than positive reviews from critics, and most viewers, but it gets a B for effort from me!

I truly feel like everyone involved in I Feel Pretty, particularly Amy Schumer, genuinely had good intentions here. The actress, who has many times shared she doesn’t care about Hollywood’s beauty standards, really wanted to create a movie that would boost women’s self-esteem. The rest of the cast joined in for the same reasons. This is a tough subject to tackle, though, and the comedy goes about it the wrong way. However, I feel the movie is also severely misunderstood.

I Feel Pretty is now playing in theaters, but if you haven’t seen it just yet consider this your warning for spoilers ahead!

I Feel Pretty
Aidy Bryant, Amy Schumer, and Busy Phillips star in I FEEL PRETTY Amy Schumer stars in I FEEL PRETTY via EPK /

The premise is simple, far-fetched, sure, but it’s a movie so it’s forgiven:

Amy stars as Renee, a woman suffering from insecurity and extremely low self-esteem. This holds her back from truly being happy and instead lives her days imagining what it would be like to be beautiful. During a SoulCycle class, she falls and hits her head. When she wakes up, she sees herself differently — thin and gorgeous — and is now empowered by self-confidence. What will happen when she realizes nothing has really changed?

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Many of the negative comments are on how Schumer is arguably not even overweight to begin with. And she’s not. Schumer looks great! Critics and viewers have commented how the movie makes it seem as if an average woman should feel badly for not being model-thin. They shame I Feel Pretty for putting that idea out there. But I don’t see it that way at all!

In fact, the movie gets that right. When it comes to self-esteem, average size women (and men) are the majority of people who aren’t happy with themselves.

What I did find a problem in, is the comedy. The message of the movie is to accept and love our bodies and ourselves. Great. But all the laughs are focused on Renee’s body. The movie wants audiences not laugh at “fat” women by making audiences laugh at a “fat” woman? Nearly every punchline in the movie is laughing at Renee for having enough confidence to participate in a bikini contest, eating, going for her dream job… the list goes on.

I Feel Pretty
Amy Schumer and Aidy Bryant star in I FEEL PRETTY Amy Schumer stars in I FEEL PRETTY via EPK /

Schumer defended the movie by stating that her character doesn’t see herself any different at all, the only thing that has changed is Renee’s confidence. But that’s not actually true. In one of the many scenes that go against this (photo above), Renee comes up behind her friend Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and warns her not to freak out. “Don’t scream,” Renee tells her. Renee goes on to warn Vivian and Jane (Busy Philips) not to scream because they won’t believe it’s really her. They do. She looks no different.

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Aidy Bryant lays out the film’s intentions best in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: “The movie really tells the story that the battle is in the brain, and it’s not at the gym or in the mirror. It’s in your mind, and I hope that’s what people take away from it.” Sadly, it’s not what audiences are taking away from it. At the time of this feature, I Feel Pretty has a 35% rating from critics at Rotten Tomatoes and a 30% from fans.

In the end, Renee accepts and loves her body, and we all should, too. Again, it’s a great message, but not well executed and delivered the wrong way.

I Feel Pretty is now playing in theaters.