If you caught a glimpse of Amy Schumer shooting her newest film “I Feel Pretty” at the Dedham SoulCycle, in the South End, Salisbury, or in another Massachusetts town last summer, you may be patiently waiting for it to hit theaters. Friday is your chance.
The new comedy stars Schumer as Renee Bennett, an insecure Manhattanite who is determined to feel as beautiful as the model-type women she encounters on a daily basis. Then, when Renee injures her head during an indoor cycling class, she wakes up believing she is the pinnacle of gorgeousness.
However, the movie, which features Emily Ratajkowski, Michelle Williams, and Naomi Campbell, has not received the pinnacle of positive film reviews. At the time of this article’s publication, it had a 39 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Before you make a decision as to whether or not to see the film, read what top critics are saying about it.
New York Post writer Sara Stewart gave the movie 1.5 stars out of four, saying the film may have been considered “edgy” — if it had hit theaters decades ago.
With seemingly no understanding of how tone-deaf it might be to cast a straight, white, able-bodied blonde like Schumer as victimized by society’s judgment, the lazily written “I Feel Pretty” takes a talented comic and casts her in the worst possible light (and I don’t mean that literally — she looks fine).
The problem with “I Feel Pretty” is the script’s “mixed messages,” according to The Boston Globe‘s Ty Burr.
The “joke” of “I Feel Pretty” is that Renee thinks she’s a knockout when she really looks like — well, Amy Schumer — and much comic mileage is milked from people’s shocked responses to her brazen refusal to acknowledge the “obvious.” Are we supposed to sympathize with them or her? At a certain point in a movie like this, the heroine’s self-confidence has to go to her head and make her betray her old pals, followed by a humbling comeuppance and a tidy emotional speech summarizing Everything We’ve Learned. So are we supposed to laugh with Renee or at her? “I Feel Pretty” wants it both ways at different times, and after a while you only hear the static.
TheWrap’s Inkoo Kang didn’t mince words, writing that “I Feel Pretty” is “an honest-to-God fiasco,” and that not even Michelle Williams’ hilarious performance could save the film.
Virtually every single aspect of this rigidly unfunny comedy is botched, from the characters to the plot, the themes to the core message. For a long stretch, Michelle Williams threatens to steal the picture, playing the funniest character she’s played in ages. But ultimately she, too, gets lost in the ineptitude that defines this film.
Manohla Dargis of The New York Times praised Schumer, but said the actress needs to find better movies to star in.
Amy Schumer puts out so much energy in “I Feel Pretty” that it’s hard not to feel charged up, too. The movie is seriously suboptimal, but she is such a force for good — for comedy, for women — and the laughs land often enough that you can go, if somewhat begrudgingly, with the messy flow. But dear lord she needs to work with better material, with funnier, sharper, far smarter scripts and with directors who can do something, anything, with the camera.
In the Los Angeles Times, Justin Chang addressed the controversy of casting Schumer in the lead role, while also sharing his amusement with the film.
I would gladly watch a version of “I Feel Pretty” with a less privileged celebrity in the lead, but I can’t deny the sweet-and-salty verve that Schumer brings to this one. … There is nothing inherently funny or affecting about a scene in which, say, Renee finds herself publicly embarrassed by a Soul Cycle employee (“Saturday Night Live” veteran Sasheer Zamata), or stands idly by while a man chats up the model (Emily Ratajkowski) next to her. But Schumer registers these microaggressions, and occasional macroaggressions, with just the right mix of indignation, envy and thick-skinned restraint. She gets you to laugh, but in between those laughs her character’s woundedness leaves a sharp little sting.
In stark contrast to the many negative reviews of “I Feel Pretty,” the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Mick LaSalle described the film as a “feature-length movie that turns out not only to be funny but endearing and humane.”
…Schumer is the movie, shamelessly comic — shoveling food into her face, while saying, “I can eat whatever I want and still look like this!” — but also willing to take us straight into the character’s pain. “I Feel Pretty” may go down as her signature picture.