I Feel Pretty/Life of the Party
Edwin Arnaudin: You were planning on seeing I Feel Pretty — in which Amy Schumer's Renee suffers a head injury that causes her to see herself as a supermodel and lead her life with boundless self-confidence — opening weekend as part of a Girls Night Out, but had to delay a couple of weeks. Was your eventual experience as lively as you'd hoped?
Jane Case: Two of the girls in my GNO party had already seen it once and had talked it up quite a bit. The movie was definitely worth seeing once! It was a lively experience, indeed — though not lively enough for me to see it twice in theaters.
Edwin: How did they hype it up and why won't you be returning for Round 2?
Jane: The normal girl talk banter. (Is "It was soooooo funny!" too cliché?) I felt like the funny-to-awkward and uncomfortable ratio was too disproportionate. It was much more uncomfortable than I had planned!
Edwin: Speaking of uncomfortable, when I reserved my seat, I was the only one on my row, but when I went in the theater after the night's first movie, there was a couple sitting right next to my spot! I left a seat between me and the guy, then halfway through he dozed off and started snoring... and his date never tried to wake him up! I think I was more entertained by their bizarre behavior than I was with the film, including Michelle Williams' squeaky voice as insecure cosmetics executive Avery LeClaire. What did you think of that?
Jane: It was impressive, like Bernadette on The Big Bang Theory. How do you do that!? However, I don't want to listen to that for 30 minutes on a television show, much less an hour and a half.
Edwin: Same here. It made me laugh at first, especially the way she said "Kohl's," and I love her puppy dress, but that's pretty much the extent of her funny lines. As with most of the rest of the cast, I wish she'd been given more wacky things to say and wasn't meant to be taken so seriously. Instead, the humor pretty much all falls to Schumer, whose one-note style also grew old for me in a hurry. Did it bother you that we're never shown how she sees herself after the head injury or is it better that we just go with the flow of her renewed self-empowerment?
Jane: The Kohl's line was super funny! There were very few moments that most of the audience LOLed. That was one of them. I really hate it when the previews give away the few funny moments. But I don't mind not knowing exactly how she saw herself after the head injury. I believe it was implied, and I'm good going with the flow. Also, did you want to sit through any more scenes?
Edwin: Good point. I guess I have a difficult time believing Schumer as a performer, and while I think it may have been beneficial to see her Shallow Hal-like transformation, I like the idea of rolling with her positivity and embracing her for who she is.
Jane: I think intentions were good with the movie, but as a woman, I'd rather it not have to come across that a slightly overweight woman has to fall and hit her head to be confident. I don't know...definitely not my favorite. The club scene was funny. A little too long, but funny.
Edwin: I take it you had a better time seeing Melissa McCarthy as Deanna, a surprise divorcee who goes back to college — the same one her daughter attends — in Life of the Party as part of a mother-daughter double date?
Jane: Life of the Party was by far the better of my two movie choices! It was fun to watch a movie about hanging out with your mom while hanging out with my mom. I could envision lots of the scenes played out in real life.
Edwin: That does sound like a lot of fun! Were you two on the same page with the humor and have some of the same favorite parts?
Jane: Well, the giggles started when, after watching the preview for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, mom leans over and says, "I love her!" I said, "Well that's good because she's starring in the movie we're about to see!" I obviously hadn't told her what we were seeing — it was an actual LOL moment and we all were chuckling throughout the movie.
Edwin: Sounds like some nice accidental serendipity! I'm far more looking forward to McCarthy in that letter-forging movie. It seems like a better showcase of her range instead of broad comedies like Tammy, The Boss and now Life of the Party. In all of these (and Ghostbusters and The Heat) it feels like most of the jokes are improvised and if you're not on that wavelength, it's going to be a long night. Clearly, your crew bought in early and often, and I'm jealous for it. What were some of your favorite parts?
Jane: You are absolutely right — she plays the same character in pretty much everything she does. It'll be so interesting to see how she does! I really enjoyed the ham sandwich scene, the restaurant scene when the realtor love interest (Julie Bowen) of Deanna's ex-huband (Matt Walsh) discovers her son is sleeping with her new man's ex-wife, Deanna's mid-term presentation (maybe a little too long, as well), the walk of shame...lots of comical scenes!
The stacks scene was probably my least favorite. It was quite uncomfortable watching Deanna make out with a boy who just turned 23 yesterday! Yikes! But I like Julie Bowen a lot and the mediation scene was great. Nothing about this movie was something I haven't seen in other movies before, but I thought it was a great way to start the Mother-Daughter double date weekend off! And I got a matinee price!
Edwin: Yeah, I never really bought the idea of Deanna hooking up with college guys, but as you note it leads to some silly encounters.
I actually like this one a good deal more than the usual MM adventure. Having talent like Jacki Weaver and Stephen Root as Deanna's parents helps spread the comedic potential a lot better than in the aforementioned "funny" movies. Casting Jessie Ennis (Better Call Saul) and especially Gillian Jacobs as ditzy but loyal sorority sisters was even better. When those four are offscreen, however, my attention wandered, but I'll gladly rewatch the '80s danceoff scene again. Overall, I give it a C-plus but can't go higher than a D for I Feel Pretty. How about you?
Jane: I think I watched both much less critically, but agree that I Feel Pretty gets a D. (I can't help but to remember my dentist telling me that he drank his way through undergrad and passed with Ds, so they can't be too bad!) I'd give Life of the Party an A for my overall enjoyment, and a C for uniqueness. B-plus overall.
I Feel Pretty — Grade: D. Rated R. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark. (Photos: STX Entertainment)
Life of the Party — Grade: B. Rated PG-13. Now playing at AMC Classic, Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark. (Photos: Warner Bros.)