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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘I Feel Pretty’ Good About This Movie

Amy Schumer, actress in I Feel Pretty.

Amy Schumer, actress in “I Feel Pretty.”

Let me just say that there are few things I like more than seeing that people are watching good films. I mean, I like watching the films myself as well, but in today’s world, where box offices are so often dominated by big-budget mediocrities, I like knowing that people are still able to enjoy a film not quite as mainstream, something that took a little less money and a little more care. But for audiences to see and enjoy these films, people first need to make them.

“I Feel Pretty” is a refreshingly fun, funny, light-hearted, mid-budget studio comedy, but the thing that I liked most about it was its PG-13 rating. As I sat in the theater watching the film, I was glad to see high school kids laughing at something genuinely funny. Being too young for films like “Game Night,” but too old for those like “Gnomeo and Juliet,” teenagers are largely deprived of good comedies in today’s cinema. Now they have something they can really enjoy, and oh has it earned its enjoyment.

Drawing from films like “Big” and “Freaky Friday,” “I Feel Pretty” tells the story of Renea Bennett (Amy Schumer): just your average New York City gal with big dreams and a bigger heart. But standing in the way of her aspirations is Renea’s self-consciousness about her weight. So, after an embarrassing trip to the gym, a disappointing night out with her friends, and some not-so-inspiring results from a group dating app, Renea runs to a well, and wishes she was pretty. At first she finds that nothing has happened, but following a bad hit on the head, Renea comes to believe that her wish has been granted, despite the blatant lack of change others perceive in her body.

This new-found confidence acts—as all the best plot devices do—as both a blessing and a curse, allowing Renea opportunities previously barred off by her bashfulness, but also severing her from her still-awkward friends Vivian and Jane (Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps, respectively). It would have been easy for a film like this to rely upon cheap jokes about a larger woman acting like people see her as a supermodel, but writer/directors Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein were smart enough to steer their film away from such triteness, finding humor instead within the absurd self-confidence this woman now exudes. Even the most beautiful and talented people are not ever really excited to be themselves in the same way Renea is, and Schumer plays this character wonderfully, in some of her funniest moments ever caught on camera.

By focusing the thematics of the film more on general self-confidence than body positivity, “I Feel Pretty” is able to speak more directly to a wider audience. While body positivity is still a major part of Renea’s story, the message goes far beyond that, saying that if only you believe in yourself, anything is possible. While this might not be the most original message, it remains a nice one to hear. “I Feel Pretty” knows it has something positive to say, and  it sure does have fun saying it. While it might not be the most thought-provoking comedy ever made, you can easily enjoy yourself as you watch it, knowing that there is a deeper message underneath.

Rating: 8.5/10