Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) is a woman who struggles with serious low self-esteem in the new movie I Feel Pretty. She’s got a few friends but is always comparing herself against society’s picturesque ideal of what female beauty should be and feeling she falls short of that is seen less than welcome on the dating scene and elsewhere.
One day Renee has an accident at spin class and suffers a rather severe brain injury. She remembers who she is but thinks that all of a sudden she looks like a high fashion model. Suddenly she’s more confident at work, with the guys she’s interested in dating and more. How long with this delusion last? And what happens when Renee’s perceptions go back to normal?
More importantly, is this a story that says women have to be delusional to think that anyone who’s not a 5’10”” 102 pound blonde can be considered pretty? Or is it a commentary on how society and media set unrealistic standards for women to attain? Let’s see if the campaign answers any of that.
Schumer is getting her confidence on as she dances across the first poster, looking happy and ready to dominate in a pink outfit and yellow shoes. There’s not much else here, just the copy “Change everything without changing anything.”
Renee is dealing with some shopping anxiety as the trailer opens and we get a few scenes of her talking about her issues with her looks and her resentment toward all the skinny women who also have low self-esteem. When she falls during spin class she suffers a head injury and wakes up with the self-image of a super model and a bit of amnesia. She has a lot more confidence as she asks for what she wants at work, is more assertive with guys and generally goes for broke in life.
I’m going to reserve commentary because there were statements made by the talent after this was released that the movie is *not* one big joke about how silly it is for women who aren’t a Size 2 to think they’re hot. Because that’s what the trailer is selling and…it’s not great.
Online and Social
The movie’s official website has all the usual expected content, including “Trailer,” “Story” and more as well as links to its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. The one feature that’s kind of unique is “Pretty Me,” a photo upload tool that lets you share what is about yourself that makes you feel pretty.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
While they were labeled “digital spots,” a series of 30-second commercials like this one were released in early April, each taking a slightly different approach to selling aspects of the story. More and more came out over time, it seemed like a dozen a week. Some of those spots were indeed also used as TV commercials.
There were a few promotional partner brands that helped out, including:
- Soul Cycle, which features prominently in the story as the place Renee sustains her injury (an interesting message to send).
- Pressed Juicery, which ran a sweeps offering tickets to see the film as well as a gift card for product.
- Codigo 1530, which I couldn’t find more details on.
- Whispering Angel, which also remained a bit elusive.
Media and Publicity
Bryant addressed the issue of whether or not the movie is one big fat-shaming joke, trying to assure fans that there was more to it than might have been seen in the first trailer.
As release approached, Schumer did the talk show and other press rounds to make her usual jokes and promote the film. Most of the press stories about her, though, focused on her recent marriage, something that in an of itself has plenty to say about gendered framing of media narratives.
Like I said above, I’m really trying to give this movie the benefit of the doubt. There *has* to be some deeper message here, right? The whole thing can’t simply be a running joke about how the only way a woman who looks like Schumer – which is fine, healthy and beautiful – can actually consider herself to be pretty is to have brain damage, right? Right? Because if that’s it then whatever critical and popular appreciation she was enjoying after her highly-acclaimed show and then the popular Trainwreck will likely be gone for good.
Perhaps that’s why the campaign feels like such a bland mess. The poster is boring, the trailer a one-note gag that’s not funny. The website is uninspired. The whole thing just screams like the studio not only didn’t know how to sell the concept but was actively trying to ignore the movie as actually happening. Schumer is a funny comedian and actor, but this gives her nothing to do and seems to be actively working against her “accept who you are” message. She’s not poking fun at society’s expectations the way she did in her “Last F**kable Day” skit, she seems to actively be playing into it.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.