Before I get into the review, I feel like I have to address all the hate and “controversy” surrounding this film. Honestly, I think it’s insane that a romcom is controversial for merely including Amy Schumer and talking about self esteem. Some of the reviews I’ve seen online mirrored the comments I saw on YouTube, where one person would say she’s “too pretty” for the premise to be believable, and the next saying she’s “disgusting”. People like this (yes, both) are the reason this movie was made.
Contrary to what most people seem to think, this movie isn’t about how everyone is beautiful, nor is it about impossible beauty standards, nor is it about beauty in general. It’s about coming to terms with your insecurities, physical or otherwise. It’s about how much happier we’d all be if we stopped defining ourselves by how others defined us.
Amy Schumer plays Renee Barrett, who believes that the only thing getting in her way of accomplishing her dreams is not being attractive enough. After a hit on the head, she sees herself to be the ideal beauty she always wanted to be, and goes on to do all the things she always wanted to do. She thinks the only reason things are going her way is because of how attractive she is, but then after finding out her looks never changed, she realizes she was getting in her own way.
When she was feeling insecure, she never applied for the jobs she felt she couldn’t get. She never asked out the guys she thought were cute. She never gave her opinions to those above her at work. She had defined herself as she thought others would: too unattractive. Not good enough. Not something enough. As soon as that’s gone, she stops getting in her own way of her dreams.
Although the insecurity that gets the most screentime is Renee’s insecurity about her looks, it’s not the only one addressed. Avery LeClaire (played by Michelle Williams) is insecure about her voice. Her brother, Grant LeClaire (played by Tom Hopper), feels he gets approached because of his money, and not who he is as a person. Renee’s romantic interest Ethan (played by Rory Scovel) is insecure about his masculinity. The SoulCycle beauty Mallory (Emily Ratajkowski) is insecure about her perceived intelligence. All these characters look up to Renee for how she seemingly pays no attention to her own flaws, because they understand how hard it is to do that.
That’s not to say this movie is without fault. It definitely stretches out the “oh I’m no longer beautiful and can’t let anyone see the real me” part for too long. It also has Renee acting entitled and mean at the height of her delusion, which was completely unnecessary. I’m not a fan of that “Icarus” trope romcoms tend to do where the main character starts low, goes too high, and some grand epiphany levels them out before they apologize to their friends. That’s normally included to make the character more “human”, but Renee starts out relatable, so her mean / rude scenes just seem out-of-character.
Overall, the movie was funny, and the underlying message was a good (and in my opinion, a necessary) message. If you think any of the actors or characters are “too much” / “not enough” anything to make the movie work, then hopefully you’ll at least see why the message is what it is.
Overall, the group rating is ★★★★☆ (4 stars). The movie was funnier than expected. You can see what we did at the meetup here.