Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty is a lot of things: an extremely relatable physical comedy, a statement on what society has done to women’s body image, and a demonstration of the power of self-confidence. And, it’s an unofficial sequel to Big.
It’s about a woman who is self-conscious about what she perceives to be her lack of beauty in today’s world. After watching the Tom Hanks ‘80s classic Big on a rainy night, she goes to a fountain and makes a wish to be beautiful. The next day, she suffers a blow to the head and wakes up seeing herself as beautiful, even though she looks exactly the same. What transpires is a display of off the charts self-confidence; the audience witnesses how her life changes just because she believes she is gorgeous by society’s standards. (See my What the Flick?! review below:)
Of course, the messaging is totally different than in Big, which is a gentle nudge that kids shouldn’t be in such a hurry to grow up and adults should hold on to their childhood.
Big gets the official tip of the hat, but I Feel Pretty is also reminiscent of a broad comedy from 2001: Shallow Hall. In the Farrelly Brothers movie, Jack Black plays a pig who dates women only based on their appearance. Then, Tony Robbins (!) hypnotizes him into seeing women’s outer appearance as a reflection of their inner beauty – and falls in love with a 300-lb. woman. When Hal’s “vision” returns to normal, he realizes that it’s who we are that counts, not what we look like. So, similar but still, a very, very different message geared to men, where I Feel Pretty deals with what it’s like to be a woman.
More gender or ethnicity-flipping ‘80s reboots are on the way: Overboard, Splash, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Of course, Ghostbusters set the trend.
Personally, I dislike the idea of remaking movies that are still relevant and a part of pop culture. However, by switching roles, it can freshen up an old property while paying homage to it – like the recent Jumanji redo. If it makes audiences interested in watching the classic, then, let’s celebrate it. What films would you like to see reimagined with some sort of role reversal?