Amy Schumer puts aside her raunchy comedy shtick for “I Feel Funny”, a movie that aims for the PG-13 crowd while offering them very little in return. It’s a conflicted movie that wants to have its cake and eat it too. It spends a lot of time getting us to laugh at the very thing it’s trying to support before stamping a disingenuous and moralizing self-esteem message on the end.
Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a young New Yorker, insecure about her appearance, who manages the website for a high-falutin’ cosmetic company. Her ‘office’ is crammed into a basement in Chinatown but her dream job is working in the fancy corporate headquarters on 5th Avenue. Problem is Renee doesn’t fit the shallow runway model physical profile the company is looking for.
But in a goofy turn of events Renee smacks her head at a fitness gym (one of many lazy weight jokes we are supposed to be laughing at). It results in her seeing herself as a gorgeous knockout. Not because of a meaningful change in self-esteem, but because she genuinely sees something in the mirror that no one else does. Of course this leads to a steady flow of gags hinging on confusion and miscommunications.
Her delusion leads her to unwittingly gain an overflow of self-confidence. It results in a job promotion although for reasons her bump on the head won’t allow her to see. You can probably guess where things are heading. Our sad sack protagonist is launched into a world of pomp but it’s all built on a paper-thin foundation. The story goes exactly where you expect it to and ends with a message statement at odds with much of what has preceded it.
Schumer gives it a good go but just isn’t that funny. Part of it is the sub-par material which treats her character like a punching bag before begging for sympathy in the end. But Schumer is just as inconsistent. Mildly amusing in scene, trying way too hard in the next. Fairly sympathetic one minute, strikingly insincere the next. The supporting characters are just as sporadic. A weird squeaky-voiced Michelle Williams performance doesn’t quite land while Rory Scovel is really good as Renee’s timid love interest.
“I Feel Pretty” is a movie with a message – a genuinely good message. And we are constantly getting whiffs of it throughout. Unfortunately it’s buried in a tonally challenged film with an glaring identity crisis. Despite not being a fan of Schumer’s other films I was frequently rooting for the one. Sadly I spent just as much time frustrated at how widely it was missing it’s mark.
VERDICT – 2 STARS