Granger on film / ‘I Feel Pretty’ is shallow, superficial sludge
Certainly no one knew that Amy Schumer’s empowerment comedy “I Feel Pretty” would be released the same week that intrepid Southwest Airlines pilot Tammi Jo Shults safely landed her crippled aircraft. But timing is everything.
In the aftermath, no one asked Shults about her dress size or brand of makeup. That’s irrelevant in a world where a woman’s training, skill and intelligence are valued far above her physical appearance.
But not in insecure Renee Bennett’s world, where a woman is judged only by how she looks. So when Renee (Schumer), wearing a bra and spanx, sees herself in a full-length mirror, she’s filled with self-loathing.
Renee’s only wish is to be beautiful. Working in Chinatown in the squalid, tech-support office of a global cosmetics company (think Estee Lauder/Revlon), she’s too timid to apply for a receptionist job in the fancy Fifth Avenue headquarters.
Then she falls off a bike in a SoulCycle class, suffering a concussion. Suddenly, Renee is delusional, convinced that she’s not only gorgeous, but irresistible to men.
Miraculously self-confident and energetic, Renee not only lands that receptionist job but also becomes an integral part of the company’s new Target marketing program under the aegis of CEO Avery LeClair (Michelle Williams). Plus, she brazenly picks up a boyfriend (Rory Scovel) at the dry cleaners.
Unfortunately, after that early powerhouse scene in front of the mirror, first-time directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, writers of “Never Been Kissed” and “How To Be Single,” deliver clunky, visually ill-timed, rom-com skits and condescending platitudes instead of plausible scenes and clever dialogue.
As for the traumatic head injury that Renee suffers, not once but twice, no one seems concerned about a brain hemorrhage, certainly not the clueless SoulCycle staff.
Bottom line: The message about low self-esteem is worthwhile but its execution is muddled, squandering Schumer’s exuberant talent, along with supporting players Michelle Williams, Lauren Hutton, Adrian Martinez, Busy Phillips and Aidy Bryant.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “I Feel Pretty” is a fantastical 5. It’s shallow, superficial sludge.