COMEDY; 1h 50min
STARRING: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Rory Scovel
Pretty happy: Schumer
Renee Bennett is one of life’s spectators, consigned to its bleachers by her insecurity about not being beautiful. “I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be just undeniably pretty,” Renee (Trainwreck’s Schumer) confides to her newfound gym buddy (the unfairly gorgeous Emily Ratajkowski). Her wish is granted—in a way—after a bonk on the head at a SoulCycle class. Renee looks exactly the same; a cutie but no Gigi Hadid. The central conceit of directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein’s perception-skewering screenplay is that she now sees herself as the bombshell she’s yearned to be.
With her confidence skyrocketing, the world is Renee’s freshly shucked oyster. She chats up a guy (Scovel), lands her dream receptionist job at the glamazon Fifth Avenue HQ of Lily LeClair cosmetics (for which she previously toiled online and safely out of sight) and slays the audience at a bikini contest. Knowing no fear, she wins everyone over. And when everyone includes LeClair CEO Avery (an all but incomprehensible Williams, overplaying the daffy card), her flirty brother, Grant (Tom Hopper), and Lauren Hutton as their grandma and company creator, Lily, that’s no small feat.
The corollary of this upward mobility is that arrogance is the B-side of confidence, and appearance as the sole measure of a person’s worth is shallow and reductive. Which of course is the point of the whole, drum-beating shebang: that good looks don’t guarantee happiness, true beauty really does lie within, self-acceptance is everybody’s due and what you give out is what you’ll get back.
There’s no arguing with any of that, and yes, there are some fun moments. This is Amy Schumer, after all, albeit a more PC and defanged incarnation of her customary raunchy self. Just don’t expect to fall about laughing. Pretty might sound like a frothy old romp but its high-minded message isn’t kidding around.