Amy Schumer's latest flick, "I Feel Pretty" hit theaters on April 20. Now over a month later critics are still dishing out plenty of hate on the movie about a longtime wannabe pretty girl who, thanks to a freak spin class injury, suddenly sees herself as having transformed into a perfect 10. Despite decent earnings at the box office and the occasional positive review, a quick Google search of the movie reveals just how unpopular it is among the so-called cinematic elite. From prominent film critics to notable filmmakers, it's no secret that the general consensus seems to be that "I Feel Pretty" is one ugly movie.
Frequent criticisms are that the movie fails in delivering a positive message, or at the very least delivers a misguided one. Ironically, however, for a movie about a woman who starts acting like something she's not (at least not in the conventional sense), much of the negative press critiques Schumer for playing a role many don't feel is meant for her. That's right-- many say that the problem is with the lead actress herself, labeling Schumer as actually being too pretty for the role that's supposed to be that of an ugly duckling. Some reviews have even labeled the flick as "offensive" to overweight women and female kind in general.
Now in my personal opinion, it seems these reviews are severely misguided because I. Seriously. Loved. This. Movie. I went to see it a few weeks into its run, having been a fan of Amy Schumer ever since I saw her perform standup at my college back in 2008 (she was the opening act for two other comedians, and she was the only one of the three to receive a standing ovation). There was only a handful of other people in the theater, though their laughter throughout and a couple of tear-streaked faces at the end suggested they enjoyed "I Feel Pretty" as much as I did.
Why did I enjoy it so much? Easy. Not only does it deliver plenty of laughs, but the comedy actually comes not at the expense of Schumer or overweight women or any person in general who doesn't feel they're good enough for the life they want to live. Instead, much of it is humorous because it's just so damn relatable. And instead of this being done in a "so funny because it's true" kind of way, the non-traditional humor of this movie has us looking hard at uncomfortable parts of ourselves and our society that we often attempt to ignore. After all, who hasn't felt, at least at one point or another, that they're not good-looking enough or successful enough? Who hasn't wished in vain for the impossible to magically happen? Who hasn't had an embarrassing incident at the gym or in another public space? This girl right here can raise her hand to all three.
Then of course there's the fact that "I Feel Pretty" is perhaps the ultimate parody of "makeover" movies. The makeover concept is one that's been so done and played out that it feels tired and insanely predictable by now. From "Cinderella" to "My Fair Lady" to "The Princess Diaries" and beyond, we get it already. The girl suddenly is transformed from a so-called ugly duckling or plain person (even though she looks perfectly normal) into a beautiful, sophisticated young woman. She gets the guy of her dreams and ultimately finds happiness. Yawn. Now ironically, one review even complained that the movie itself needs a makeover, but that's where "I Feel Pretty" really shines. It features no physical makeover, nor does it have any magic or the usual Hollywood gloss. It's got plenty of gritty and uncomfortable moments along with the non-traditional comedy, and it's unabashedly unapologetic for all of it.
I therefore predict that, with time, this movie will become one that finds acclaim. After all, the most innovative movies often are misunderstood and underestimated when they first are introduced to the public. And just as its heroine learns to find herself without actually changing a thing, so too might "I Feel Pretty" eventually become appreciated for the great movie that it is.