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I FEEL PRETTY: GOOD INTENTIONS DON’T PAY OFF

Amy Schumer is so likable in the early stages of this fable that I found myself actively rooting for the movie. I wanted it to be good, as poignant and believable as its leading character. Alas, I Feel Pretty runs aground and never regains its equilibrium.

Schumer plays an underpaid, overworked, overweight New Yorker who carries bad luck like an albatross around her neck. Then, after throwing a coin into a fountain one night and blacking out at her gym the next day, she undergoes a magical transformation. She finally has everything she’s dreamed of–but it’s all in her head. She hasn’t changed a bit, but the belief that she is beautiful and stylish makes her a new, super-confident woman.

This leaves her two frowsy best friends (Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant) in the dust. Where once they were the three musketeers they now watch dumbfounded as their pal goes after her dream job as a receptionist at a sleek, high-end cosmetics firm run by Michelle Williams. (The company was founded by her grandmother, who is played by the still-chic Lauren Hutton.) Schumer even acquires a too-good-to-be-true boyfriend (Rory Scovel).

I Feel Pretty wears its believe-in-yourself message on its sleeve. This might work better if its heroine didn’t become so obnoxious and its story so convoluted. Likable performances sink under the weight of the heavy-handed screenplay by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, whose credits include Never Been Kissed and He’s Just Not That Into You. The longtime writing partners make their directing debut with this vehicle for Amy Schumer.

Good intentions abound in this glossy wish-fulfillment comedy, but the results are decidedly disappointing.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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