For their directorial debut, writing partners Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein (“Never Been Kissed,” “He's Just Not That Into You”) stick to a familiar theme. A woman's insecurity, bordering on neurosis, forces her to accept a ridiculous challenge that inevitably leads to humiliation. Although it's played for laughs, this scenario often results in a victory of sorts, likely of the romantic variety, for the woman. But this time around there's a mean twist.
When the movie starts, Renee (Amy Schumer) is so convinced of her inadequacy that she's given up on any ambitions save one: transforming herself to conform to conventional beauty standards. To do this she screws up the courage to step into the modern equivalent of Cinderella's slippers—spin class cleats. Just as Renee is getting into the groove in the middle of the second class (the first ends even before it begins when Renee is put through the timeworn gag of splitting her exercise tights with the added abuse of impaling her crotch on the saddle) her cleat slips and she falls off the bike, hitting her head.
The concussion causes an inverse body dysmorphia. Albeit no change to her physical appearance, Renee now believes she's beautiful, much to the amusement or chagrin of everyone around her. And what's a woman who suddenly believes she's desirable finally desire? The receptionist job at a cosmetics company, a date with the guy standing behind her at the dry cleaners (Rory Scovel) and to win a Coney Island bikini contest.
The sad fact is that, despite the big speech Renee gives at the end, the messages being conveyed by thie movie are that confidence can go a long way to the realization of goals so long as the bar for those goals is exceptionally low and, for anyone but the rarefied good-looking, possessing confidence is a form of cognitive dissonance; a mental illness.
Having made a successful career in defiance of conventional standards—beauty and otherwise—for women, Schumer isn't convincing in the least as the unconfident Renee. There is one authentic moment, unsurprisingly, the one not meant to be humorous, when she stands in front of a mirror in Spanx and ill-fitting bra. Her performance is livelier after Renee is inflicted with the head injury but, unlike with her own material, she's not in on the jokes. The audience is encouraged to mock her overreach and laugh at every jiggle of her belly. The movie collapses under its own humor, which reinforces the status quo; not challenging it.