Oh boy, perhaps not watching TV bit me in the butt recently. I saw one trailer, one fun trailer for I Feel Pretty and that apparently was the only good cut of the trailer. I missed the others. I missed the controversy. I was intrigued from the one trailer I saw. I know a number of yoga and other wellness types steeped in body acceptance and celebration so I figured I would see where mainstream culture was at this juncture of this movement. Naomi Campbell was the only POC representation I saw so I figured this film would not affect me much. I attended a screening event ahead of the film release.
I should have taken the pre-party as a sign of things to come. First I ordered an old-fashioned at my local Alamo Drafthouse that I was just at over the weekend where I ordered an old-fashioned, but this time it was served to me in a plastic martini glass. Red flag, I am not a newly minted 21-year-old pretending I am drinking a cosmo. Please give me an old-fashioned in a highball or a generic tumbler, the glass really peeved me off. Then there were giveaways including one for a medical eyelash growing system punctuated with telling women afterward that National No Makeup Day is next week. There were many mixed signals but we were quickly ushered into the theater before I could get my head on straight.
Amy Schumer can be funny. I liked Trainwreck including the crude spots. I will not watch her stand up though, it is too much for me. However the trailer, here I was, ready. I tried to laugh at the beginning but found myself like a household pet after a while cocking my head side to side trying to figure out what was happening in front of me. By the end I was sitting there steeped in loathing, with almost as much loathing as this film has for itself.
I Feel Pretty is supposed to be about confidence and it really could use a dose of self-confidence. A HUGE premise of the movie is that we in the audience are supposed to think of Amy Schumer as hideous for the jokes to be funny. She sustains a head injury at a SoulCycle and transforms into a courageous force to be reckoned with. However she was walking around in her no-confidence role wearing a very short skirt with her great legs before the head bump. It had to be pointed out that the outfit was hideous because of the Bed, Bath, and Beyond bag over her shoulder and that she was hideous for wearing it.
Schumer’s character faces a great deal of fat-shaming that goes off the rails and is supposed to be charming. A bikini contest host approaches her date who is quick to disclaim that he is only her friend to then be told that Amy’s character is not attractive, but she has a good personality and that counts in a knife fight. I was turned off because it is not just fat-shaming for a movie supposedly about confidence, but because her character is not considered conventionally attractive there are assumptions she must be a lesbian. Do people still believe this nonsensical trope?!? There were a number of these kinds of assumptions based on antiquated stereotypes that cheapened the film even further.
As for Schumer she is supposed to be oblivious to the haterade she faces after her head bump but that premise that is supposed to empower so many women in transitional junctures in our lives does not hold. In a counterpoint to the script’s premise she shows herself as an insecure jerk with no integrity by dumping on her friends and boyfriend. The movie was sad and disturbing in that studios and thereby an extension of mainstream media think this is the empowerment those who identify as female want to boost our confidence. Do not take your daughters or friends battling something real right now… unless you use it as an exercise to talk afterwards about what not to do.