I Feel Pretty

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I did like it. I just didn’t love it and I don’t all the way know why. Good things first: I like the concept overall. Just changing someone’s perception of themselves & how they act instead of physically changing anything or dressing better or changing the way they interact, etc.

I liked that they never showed what she saw. That was cool. I liked the casting, Sasheer Zamata was funny, Aidy Bryant is always funny, Michelle Williams was great, the brother was hot, Rory Scovel was a breakout, the casting was great.

Some stuff I didn’t like: I didn’t like that the opening scene, our introduction to this character, was her falling off a bike and hurting/embarrassing herself. I think there’s a lot of stereotypes about fat people (which also, Amy Schumer is not) that they’re sloppy, lazy, uncoordinated, bumbling, etc. Fat people can ride stationary bikes. It felt like a cheap shot right out of the gate that kind of undermined some of the goals of the premise to me? There’s just so many situations where being fat turns into a negative that isn’t that person’s fault it was weird that they chose an example that seemed to blame her body. Anyway. I didn’t love that, but it didn’t make me mad or hate the movie or anything.

Um, I liked the guy she worked with Mason, even though he was a little “fat gross guy” in the beginning as well, we get more from him later.

So, Amy Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a down on herself programmer? She does something with the website of a makeup brand headed by Michelle Williams as Avery LeClaire, a tiny blonde with the voice of a scared bird. Renee dreams of working in Manhattan at the fancy Headquarters instead of a weird basement office with Mason. She goes there one day to drop off some reports because the internet was down (any time the internet is ‘down’ anywhere, even in a fictional world, I feel a little bit of involuntary stress). While there, she learns about a job opening as a receptionist which apparently is a dream job for her. (I’m rewatching The Office for the millionth time and at one point Pam doesn’t care about the downsizing because, “I don’t think it’s any little girl’s dream to be a receptionist” WRONG PAM-we found the one girl!!).

Then she has a Soul Cycle mishap AGAIN where she falls off a bike and bangs her head. Instead of calling any sort of medical professional, they give her a bandana and a lot of rude looks. She could sue?? Maybe don’t keep bitchily implying that she’s ugly? Idk.

Also Emily Ratajkowski has some stuff about how she has issues with her appearance too and she got dumped. I liked that they remind us that being beautiful doesn’t protect you from heartbreak but thin women being like, “I have body image issues too” is like the All Lives Matter of body positivity bc like, yes, body dysmorphia & eating disorders, but also you feeling bad about yourself isn’t you not being able to buy your size in most stores, or fit on a plane or being discriminated against in a job interview or have a doctor miss a time sensitive medical diagnosis because they just keep telling you to lose weight and don’t trust your own account of your symptoms. (All of which happen constantly). But instead of explaining that in any way, Amy’s just like, “I want to punch you in your dumb mouth” which, is a lillll lazy writing and also a copout of a punchline at this point to me. Eh.

Um, so then she sees herself as beautiful which is cool, and she has lots of confidence n’ stuff. She goes to meet her friends and tells them she’s her, and that scene is funny and well-navigated. I also really like her friends. Busy Philipps is lowkey beautiful and was another one who played a “fat friend” when she was still underweight, (White Chicks, which is otherwise a perfect movie) and Aidy Bryant is the perfect amount of everything. I love her so much.

Then Renee has the job interview at Lily LeClaire for the receptionist job. Naomi Campbell is there (is that common for the CEO to be present for the hiring of a receptionist?) and they’re all shading her a lot but they’re also starting a ‘diffusion line’ which is a more accessible product for Target/drugstores instead of department stores and they’re looking for someone who understands this new type of client they’re courting.

So she gets the job and is killing it, she meets the hot brother who is very hot and he likes her. This was one of my favorite parts because hot men like women who aren’t thin!!!! I mean, I know they like thin women too but I liked that he flirted with her, it felt realistic to me.

Throughout all this, she has picked up and started seeing Ethan No Last Name (Rory Scovel) who did such a good job and is very attractive and funny. I feel like this movie will be huge for him.

There’s a great scene where she and Ethan are on the boardwalk? Coney Island? I don’t know what anything is-but they’re walking by and a bar is having a bikini contest and she goes in and participates and it’s so fun and she doesn’t win which I LOVED because that was realistic. But then she doesn’t care and that’s tight. (There’s a fun cameo from Dave Attell here as the bikini contest runner where he gives a heartfelt speech about how hot his goddaughter is and what a great person Renee is. It’s so good).

They start to date and have sex and they also show stuff with Rory’s character that he’s not all the way comfortable with himself and he kinda lives outside gender norms which are strict and oppressive to men as well and I liked that. Like when they have sex for the first time he keeps turning the light off and she’s like, “No I’m good,” and he’s like, “I just didn’t know if you wanted to see me” which is so sweet and I loved that they gave him uncertainties around sex, we don’t allow men that enough, especially straight men in romantic roles.

Renee’s killing at her job because she knows blush should have an applicator and she tells all the thin rich women that and they eat it up with a spoon. She gets invited to a private dinner with the LeClaire’s and then invited to Boston for the big pitch meeting. The brother is hitting on her hardcore which again, I loved, but she doesn’t cheat on Ethan thank tha lord. I hate cheating!!!!! It shouldn’t be acceptable!!! How can people do that to each other? Anyway. Then she falls AGAIN (AGAIN!!!!!!!!) and is bleeding in the shower for a while.

When she goes down to the lobby her vision of herself is back to what it was and this saps her confidence. She immediately bails on the presentation and FLIES back to NY and ignores all these calls from her boss, and breaks up with her boyfriend over Facetime.

I mean, this level of self-destruction seemed a little intense to me? I guess I’ve never been magically altered and then returned so maybe that’s too much but I’ve done stuff when I felt ugly or fat and you just suck it up and do it anyway. I just feel like I wouldn’t risk being fired because I felt fat? Like at what point is your body such an offense that you can’t do your job? It was a little overboard for me, but to each their own.

Poor Ethan, he’s like, “I think I deserve better than this” and she’s like, “You do- you deserve the world.” And he does!!!!!

We also get a classic fountain/lightening storm in the rain wish scene here, where Renee tries to reverse the magic but no dice.

Some more stuff happens and she finds out Emily is auditioning to be the face of the diffusion line which is all wrong, so she puts on a trenchcoat to correct this mistake LeClaire is about to make. She of course ends up making an emotional journey speech on a stage full of people with a powerpoint about beauty and strength. That bothered me a little too, there was so much emphasis on ‘strength’ in that speech about being yourself and seeing your own beauty, it was like, “We’re all strong enough to ignore SOCIETY’S prison we’ve set for ourselves” and again it’s putting the onus in the wrong place to me? Like, women shouldn’t have to be strong every second of every day to feel good about themselves and if they can’t they’ve failed/it’s a weakness- I think it’s ok to be like, “This is a tough situation and it’s really hard and you’re allowed to feel bad but remember how great you are, etc.” It was mostly fine, about how when we’re little we have all this confidence and then the world takes that away from us, and how many women have seen a photo or video of themselves from before they were cognizant and you’re in awe of your brazen ability to take up space and be loud and unapologetically be you? Probably eleventy million. So that part was resonant and good.

The end I don’t all the way remember now even though I saw it earlier today? She gets back with Rory? And apologizes to her friends for being a dick-oh that’s a whole part of this I forgot, there was an arc after she got used to her perceived hotness where she was being rude and dismissive to her friends and other people she didn’t deem attractive enough, and that was good to show how easy it is to fall into these patterns of thinking and judging/how much work it is to intentionally buck that and try to dismantle it.

Full transparency, I left in the middle (when she’s breaking up with him at the restaurant?) to go throw up in the bathroom because apparently I have a stomach virus or something, so that was also going on with me. I liked their reconciliation where he picked her nose. Probably because I pick my nose and I have been shamed for it!!!!!!!! We can’t all fit your perfect clear-nostriled idea of women, SOCIETY!!!!

Oh I do remember the end, she’s back in a Soul Cycle class, somehow managing to stay on the bike, and a Lizzo song is playing, which, thank god. She is a fuggin’ beacon for inclusive beauty and anthems for self-love. I love her. That was a good choice.

I laughed out loud at a few parts but the funniest one was where Renee interrupted a meeting accidentally then ended up giving some good feedback but was excusing herself and was like, “Ok just give me a sign if you guys need anything else, like a water or anything. And the sign can just be like, ‘Renee can we get a water in here?” and for whatever reason that was hilarious to me. Two straight men (I’m pretty sure) saw it by themselves and that was so cute. I love when men go in groups (however small!!!) to see movies with female leads.

Um, aside from my constant nausea and diarrhea that I was feeling during this viewing, I also was held back from COMPLETE love by some minor annoying things that they got wrong that could have so easily been fixed had they had one person on the writing staff who knew about fat activism or anything like that. But overall it was fun? It didn’t change my life like I was hoping it would, but it’s not a step backwards? It was cool that she wore Spanx and had underboob in that one scene, I haven’t seen that represented often and it was cool. But truly Amy Schumer is still pretty small.

It kind of was like the updated female Shallow Hal and I love that movie, and it wasn’t as good as that to me. But, movies where size is being addressed and people are at least being made aware of these tropes instead of blindly fed them? I’m ok with that. Actually, it felt like the Freaky Friday/watered down/lite version of Dietland. If you were interested in the ideas of this movie but disappointed in the execution, you should definitely read Dietland by Sarai Walker, it’s phenomenal and radical and a more extreme version of this, & I can’t recommend it highly enough.

3 out of 6 stewardess mini skirts with buttons (WHY???), will prolly masturbate again before I die.

 

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