The 400-Word Review: I Feel Pretty

By Sean Collier

April 23, 2018

Passing the Bechdel test, anyway.

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I know that I Feel Pretty, the new comedy starring Amy Schumer, is a pretty good movie.

I’m not sure what kind of movie it is. That could be one of its strengths — or, if you’re the kind of person who likes the marketing to match the product, it could be a setback.

I Feel Pretty is written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, the romcom team behind the scripts for Never Been Kissed, He’s Just Not That Into You and more. (This is their first time directing.) It has the broad beats of the genre: bizarre circumstances leading to love; personal growth and self-discovery; supportive and briefly spurned friends.

The premise: Renee (Schumer) is a sad-sack thirtysomething toiling in a basement office and failing at most of her endeavors, flanked by fellow misfits Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and Jane (Busy Phillips). A new friendship with a model (Emily Ratajkowski) convinces Renee that her appearance is holding her back; after a blow to the head at a SoulCycle class, she wakes up with the delusion that she’s been transformed into a nonpareil form.

Imbued with the confidence of the beautiful, she skyrockets to the top of a cosmetics brand — after wowing the company’s CEO (Michelle Williams, in a flawless performance) — and begins dating a charming hipster (Rory Scovel). She also treats her friends callously and attributes all of her success to her looks, leaving her lost when, inevitably, the spell wears off.


I Feel Pretty is not quite a straight-up comedy, though that’s what the marketing would have you believe; there are some effective gags, but most of the script is too busy exploring its own thesis to fit in a wealth of laughs. It’s not a normal romcom, either; the skeleton is straight out of the genre, but too much of the business is divorced from that narrative.

It’s a deconstruction of the magical-transformation trope, to a degree; there is clear commentary on the idea of a character turning beautiful through magic or circumstance. More than any of those, it’s a message movie, pushing a warning about the internal and external consequences of an unchecked focus on beauty standards.

I Feel Pretty does not comfortably wear all of those hats; the result is a bit uneven. But Schumer and a game cast can carry it well enough. It’s heart is certainly in the right place.

My Rating: 6/10

Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at



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