REVIEW: “I FEEL PRETTY” (2018) STX ENTERTAINMENT

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When the trailer for “I Feel Pretty” first dropped, some people expressed concerns that the storyline and main character were in fact more harmful than helpful to the body positivity/shaming movement. All due to the fact that Amy Schumer is a blonde, white, able-bodied woman of average weight and build. If her body is considered ‘comedic’ then what hope is there for the rest of us? Well… that was the trailer… so until all these naysayers see the actual movie, honestly just sit down. Because it’s really nothing like that. In fact I’d go with it being a rather poignant truth about real life and a pointed comedy. An almost a modern twist of the ‘Ugly Duckling‘ fable.

In “I Feel Pretty” – Amy Schumer stars as Renee Bennett, an “average” (by society’s standards at least), woman who feels trapped and saddened by her appearance. In fact, her insecurities dig so deeply into every aspect of her life that they keep her from pursuing relationships and enjoying spending time with her two best friends Jane (Busy Philips) and Vivian (Aidy Bryant). But perhaps most devastatingly of all, that disdain she feels for her appearance, well it prevents her from chasing her dream job. So instead of working within the palatial 5th Avenue offices of top beauty brand LeClaire, she is stuck in a basement workspace in dingy building off an alleyway, working on the ‘online’ forgotten section of the company’s website with one pretty non-verbal and sometimes pants-less workmate, Mason (Adrian Martinez).

Like so many of us do in real life, Renee attempts to fix her life by changing her appearance. She heads into a SoulCycle spin class to do just this, but after taking not one, but two falls off her bike (the second one being the ‘magical one’), she awakens from a blackout to find out that she is now drop dead stunningly gorgeous. Or at least, she thinks she is. To the audience – and everybody in her life – she looks exactly the same as she always did – and unlike other make-over movies from years gone by, we are never actually given that glimpse of the person Renee thinks she has transformed into. Which is actually a stroke of genius because it truly makes this a film of it’s own in this sense. We don’t need to know what she thinks she see’s – it’s the fact the only she can see that makes this character truly shine. And shine she does.

Schumer is her best hilarious self here, but don’t think she is the only one. Michelle Williams as Avery LeClare, comes through in what can only be described as a perfect mockery of what is surely a played upon caricature of Ivanka Trump, and she is comedy revelation with her whispery, annoying voice that no one can take seriously. The always and still so beautiful, Lauren Hutton as Lily LeClare is perfect symmetry. In any other film Avery would have been the oh-so-pretty adversary Renee has to triumphant over to succeed. However, this film just does that exact opposite of what you think it will do and cares nothing for the tired female stereotypes that we are so used to and think of and so this movie goes in a very different direction. Not to be left out are the guys of this movie. Rory Scovel as Ethan, who meets Renee at the dry cleaners in a scene that will have you rolling in your seat, and leads into way more hilarity and love, along with hunky Grant LeClare (Tom Hopper), Avery’s brother and almost crush of Renee’s – add the man-factor to this fun film.

But the crux of this movie is that Renee’s body and appearance are never the butt of the final joke. In her scenes with Emily Ratajkowski’s character, Mallory, a model she meets at the gym, the joke is always on society itself and the way in which women with different bodies are so differently treated. There’s no denying that two these women have very different body shapes – one which is universally celebrated as perfection and one which is not. All these scenes do is hold a magnifying glass up to how they are both treated – and the jokes pretty much write themselves. In this case, all you can do is laugh. It is treading this perfect line between humour, physical comedy and body positivity that the brilliance behind “I Feel Pretty” really shines. Some of Schumer’s best moments come from the scenes where she is just let loose on her own, to be her own Schumer-self.

To sum it up – the film is cute, sweet & funny – all the while sending strong message dealing with how one looks and self-esteem is judged in our society. It will also leave you with some emotion that you didn’t see coming at you because it can be a bit of a roller-coaster when you sit through a movie that has you laughing one moment, and then tearing up the next. I think co-star Aidy Bryant, might have said it best when she wrote on her Instagram account. “I’m very proud to be in a movie tells the story of someone who believes confidence is directly tied to looks but learns that confidence comes from within. It’s a movie I wish I could have seen when I was 14.” Yep.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, April 16, 2018 ~ Courtesy of STX Entertainment
“I FEEL PRETTY” will be released nationwide Friday, April 20, 2018 // Worldwide release May 2018

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Review: “ENTOURAGE” (2015) Warner Bros.

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entourage
“The Boys are back in town” — Spread the word around — The Boys are back– The Boys are back…

From the first opening scenes I’m guessing most will know immediately whether or not they will enjoy this film as before the opening credits even roll out we are caught up in the middle of a huge celebrity filled party scene as “Vincent Chase” (Adrian Grenier) is on a multi-millionaire’s yacht celebrating the end of his 9 day marriage with his friends zooming over on a speedboat to join him with nary a girl who’s not supermodel beautiful in sight. Life’s clearly a bitch for these guys..
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Entourage – based on the very popular HBO series that ran for eight seasons, is a fun, fast-paced, energetic look at both sides of the Hollywood machine. Side 1: The glamorous side of fast cars, nice homes & copious amounts of sex; Side 2: takes a really good peek at what goes on in behind-the-scenes deals that go down just to get films made. At 104 minutes long, there is not a moment wasted in packing in a ton of stuff into this glittering ride of a movie. The party scenes are fun, the dialogue is sharp and biting and the actors inhabit their respective characters well.

So remember ‘Medellin’? The film fiasco that was portrayed on the series that almost put a halt to the career of Vinnie Chase. This film picks up from the that as we once again takes a look at the lives of movie star Vincent Chase, his agent (now studio executive) “Ari Gold” (Jeremy Piven) and his group of cronies “Eric aka ‘E'” (Kevin Connolly), “Johnny Drama” (Kevin Dillon) and “Turtle” (Jerry Ferrera) who surround him. This time, the boys are making Ari’s first blockbuster picture ‘HYDE’ with Vince being not only the lead actor but in the directors chair as well. Everything threatens to go off the rails when the movie goes over budget. To get more money for the production, Ari has to go and deal with difficult Texan financier “Larsen McCredle” (Billy Bob Thornton) and his son “Travis” (Haley Joel Osment). Meanwhile, E is dealing with multiple pregnancies, Turtle is trying to court UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, Vince is dealing with his relationship with Emily Ratajkowski and directing his first major film for Ari, and Drama is coping with his stagnant career and a leaked sex tape. It’s all light fun, accompanied by fast cars, LA icon sightings and an absurd amount of celebrity cameos that if you blink you just might miss one of them.
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With various plotlines moving throughout the film, the party scene that occupies much of the middle section of the film is fantastic and the script really starts to move at a faster, funnier pace. But it’s always Ari who brings the film together. He is by far the most compelling character in the film, always ranting and raving, shouting an incessant amount of profanity at his co-workers while dealing with crazy financiers. Piven is a true scene-stealer, spouting off as much as he can and having a lot of fun with the role. As for the other four principle stars, they’re great together, and while it might take you a moment to recognize child-star Haley Joel Osmont, he does really well in this unexpected character turn with perhaps the meatiest co-star role out of all the actors, getting the chance to portray an immature Texan kid overwhelmed by the celebrity lifestyle.
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While this film is far from a masterpiece by any means, it did keep me smiling throughout with some very funny moments, great dialogue and simply put – it just all works. It’s a good summer diversion that delivers everything you want from a movie like this.. a good time.

B-
@pegsatthemovies

Screening Monday, June 1st, 2015 at Pacific Grove Theatres courtesy of Warner Bros.
Nationwide release: Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015