What if falling in love with yourself was as easy as hitting your head? That's the question Amy Schumer's new movie I Feel Pretty is asking. On Thursday, February 8, the comedian debuted the first trailer for I Feel Pretty on Ellen, and there's a lot to unpack. The comedy stars Schumer as Renée, a self-conscious woman who injures herself during a spin class and emerges a newly self-appreciative woman. It's not in a "Oh, I cheated death, and want to appreciate life!" way, either: As the I Feel Pretty trailer shows, Renée recovers from the accident unchanged, except for immense confidence in her appearance. Blessed with positive self-image for the first time in her adult life, Renée begins to dress, style, and project herself differently.
I Feel Pretty costars Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant as Schumer's best friends, who seem baffled by their friend's attitude, and comedian Rory Scovel as Schumer's love interest. The trailer promises a bevy of celebrity cameos, including Naomi Campbell, Michelle Williams (with long hair!), Sasheer Zamata, and Emily Ratajkowski. The I Feel Pretty teaser is optimistic and funny, as well as a tad ridiculous, which belies the complicated message at its core. To be fair, this is audiences' first look at the film, and there's likely more to it than that.
At the beginning of the trailer, Schumer's character wears sweats, struggles to style her hair, and seems generally depressed. She snaps at Ratajkowski's character for experiencing self-doubt, and her visage scares a baby at the supermarket. It's obvious that this character has more going on than being underwhelmed by her appearance, but this first glimpse of I Feel Pretty isn't emphasizing it. The complicated question of "will feeling hotter improve my life?" is a tough idea to build a movie around, and its success will rest on Schumer's unique charms. She's made a name for herself with fierce, foul-mouthed, often self-deprecating comedy, and frequently discusses her struggle to find peace with her appearance. Even so, the concept of a film wherein a straight, white woman discovers femininity and self-love feels a little iffy. There are so many stories to tell, especially ones that don't focus on white women, and this first look at I Feel Pretty leaves something to be desired.
That said, Schumer does a good job of selling it. The I Feel Pretty trailer debut was built into the comedian's appearance on Ellen, where she introduced it with the concept of "mirror face": The expression one makes upon seeing their own reflection. Her past boyfriends, she jokes, found overwhelming confidence in their appearance, while her experiences were less empowering. As a result, Renée's journey in I Feel Pretty spoke to Schumer. Schumer is a confident performer, and surprisingly nuanced; she could take this material farther than expected.
For I Feel Pretty to be successful, it will ultimately require layers. It's not clear whether it's a straightforward comedy, or more of a romantic comedy, or if Renée's potential head injury will find a way to cure itself before the time is up. It's unusual, but empowering? The reverse Shallow Hal? There's a lot to explore.
Further, it's important to remember that all people, everywhere, experience self-doubt, lapses in confidence, and hesitation about their appearance. Outward appearance isn't the answer to everything, and each person perceives themselves (and others) differently. Falling out off of a bike in a SoulCycle class and hitting your head probably isn't the answer to discovering instant, relentless self-confidence, though if you're fortunate enough to have that happen, more power to you.
I Feel Pretty will be released in theaters in late 2018.