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Be careful what you wish for

FILM REVIEW: Rom-com I Feel Pretty is all about self-belief

Trish Lee

Charlie Masters

trish.lee@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886663

Be careful what you wish for

I Feel Pretty (12a)
Running time 1hr 50min
Rating: **

AS a middling girls-night-in romcom, I Feel Pretty merely works. As a study in the capacity of a bothersome, predictable script to thwart a comic tour de force at the height of their game, it excels.
Whereas 2015’s Trainwreck found Amy Schumer at her offbeat, insightful best, this new effort is a rather more civilian affair; the spark and dynamism of the former is lost amid a heap of formulaic gags.

While peppered with the comedian’s signature brand of acerbic, cringe-inducing humour, odes to the
incredible shallowness of modern being are all but quashed by the unbridled optimism of the premise.

Much of the problem, I believe, lies in a flaw I Feel Pretty actually shares with its superior predecessor – it was never that clear that Schumer’s character in Trainwreck, a just-about-managing sports journalist, really WAS the drunk-walking disaster the film wanted her to be. Likewise, I Feel Pretty casts her as Renee, a glamorous young professional blighted by theimpossible, frequently dangerous ideals espoused by the American beauty industrial complex. Amy Schumer is, of course, pretty; having (mostly) skirted the issue, the film appears to imply that the only way one can come to terms with their body is through incurring brain damage (in Renee’s case, resulting from a spin class accident).
From then on, it’s up, up and away, as our heroine, brimming with ‘delusional’ self-confidence, nets a beardy beau (Rory Scovel) and the job of her dreams.

The devil is in the fine print. Whereas Trainwreck negotiated its own contradictions with the aid of Schumer’s comic vigour and Judd Apatow’s knack for shrewd, candid direction, I Feel Pretty’s myriad inconsistencies are always hot on its heels, ready to eat it alive. Schumer brings little to the table that she hasn’t already flaunted, gloriously, in previous billings; insofar as the film’s body-positivity makes for an appealing sell, it’s unable to communicate its Big Important Message with the subversive energy it demands. The laffs (including a trailer-friendly dance sequence) occasionally hit hard, even if they’re mostly lacking the frankness (and genuine cringe factor) we’ve come to expect of these people.
It’s essentially a female-fronted iteration of 2001’s Shallow Hal, glossy, funny and content to parade little of Schumer’s characteristic brilliance.

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