Pretty Ugly People [Who Forever Remain Ugly]

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Pretty Ugly People (2008)

So the film begins with an animated version of Lucy (Missi Pyle) who discusses her group of friends during college. We soon learn that Lucy is overweight and that she is narrating from her death, as she claims to be dead with an animated grave stone (we will later learn that this death is only symbolic of the old-overweight Lucy’s death, how horrifyingly cliché).

The animation ends as Becky (Melissa Mccarthy) pulls up to her job while on the phone with Lucy. Lucy informs Becky that she has “a little time left” and would love to spend it with all of her old friends. Why Lucy has Becky contact all her friends instead of doing it herself is just one of the many questions that the film has you asking. Becky, formally known as Thumper because of her past promiscuous ways, is now a science teacher who seems to use her craft glue to keep the group in tact. It is here that I must mention that Becky is an overt caricature of every kindergarten teacher: she crafts her own shirts to encompass the spirits of the seasons and the holidays.

As Becky calls George (Josh Hopkins), Trevor (Jack Noseworthy), Ray (Phil Lewis, who will forever be Mr.Mosby), and Austin (Larry Sullivan) two things become apparent: the group has [shockingly] drifted apart and that Lucy is known for false alarms [while some characters remain skeptical of this, they reluctantly agree to fly out and see Lucy] (both Becky and Ray bring their spouses with them). Once they arrive to the cabin, they are met by a woman [who is obviously Lucy, but remains a mystery to the group of friends that flew out to see Lucy]. And what do you know? The woman reveals herself to be . . . Lucy! It turns out that Lucy is not dying, she simply called her distant-friend crying and saying that she had a little time left to tell her friends that she had gastric bypass surgery and only needs to lose four pounds to reach her dream goal. This will be accomplished by having her friends fly across country to go on a hiking trip with her!

Time to let the hilarity of this comedy ensue [or should I say let the skeletons of each character’s closet roll out]:

  • Trevor turns out to be in a band called Motherfuckin 3 that performs “Fed My Bitch a Blade” [a song that is embarrassingly catchy].
  • Lucy has a little bottle around her neck that contains the ashes of her stomach so that she can spread them throughout the hike. In one moment, she drops some of it in the hot springs that all of her friends are in, because that is inspirational.
  • Ray is a congressman who has an upcoming election. Ray is the only black person in the group and we learn that he had only dated white women before marrying Mary (Octavia Spencer). Now Mary is different from Ray, she is a huge fan of MF3 and hip-hop, but she is not allowed to listen to it because it will look bad for Ray’s image. In one scene, Richard (Philip Littell), Becky’s husband, remarks that Ray made such an excellent speech on television because he could close his eyes while listening to Ray speak without knowing that he was black. This is where the film seems to be promising a critique on the whole notion of “black people sounding white,” yet just as Lucy disappointed her friends by remaining far away from death, this promise disappoints its viewers. In the later conflict between Mary and Ray [as with much of the film], Mary assumes the stereotypical role of the overly-loud and ghetto black woman. Mary then informs Ray that she talks like this because she is black. In this, the film seems to suggest that being black means talking and behaving in the same manner as Mary, while a black man who behaves like Ray is acting white.
  • Richard refuses to have sex with Becky as they just had it on her birthday (6 months ago) and Christmas will soon be approaching. It is then no surprise that Becky is having an affair with a coach that works in her school.
  • George, along with the rest of the group, is constantly questioning Austin’s sexuality. While in the hot springs with George, Austin begins discussing how lovely it is to see both the sun and the moon at once, a conversation that somehow gives George a green light. Austin thwarts him off but immediately tells George that it is okay. George runs away and for the rest of the film projects his insecurities revolving his sexuality onto Austin.
  • Austin makes a fat joke that gets Lucy so upset that she decides to abandon her friends, the same very friends that she basically scattered her stomach ashes on. Yet when her friends find her, she prepares dinner for them. Here is where I thought that she was going to poison them, but I soon realized that the only poison that I would see was the one injected in me during the film’s ending. Instead, Lucy makes a toast and badmouths all her friends who for some reason refuse to eat dinner with her after.
  • Turns out Lucy is a virgin.
    • As if that is a problem.
    • As if that would make anyone forgive her.
  • Turns out, it is a problem and Austin forgives her. In fact, he forgives her in the woods. He forgives her missionary style. He forgives her doggy style.
  • And the hike has finally reached its end. Everyone boards the bus to return home. Problems still remain in the air, but rather than have our characters solve them, the driver of the bus suddenly dies causing a car accident. It was almost as if the budget of the film reached its limit and the crew had to devise a way to end it.
  • Everyone makes it out alive except Richard who basically wastes his last breath to tell Becky that he knew about the affair. As if the crew did not know how to have Becky confront Richard about the affair so he had to die.
  • See sonogram: Becky’s child with the coach that she was dating. Lucy and Austin are a couple. Trevor and Mary are a new item. George has embraced his sexuality. They are all on the beach.
  • Ray is on the plane making out with a white woman because what shows better character development than having one revert to where he was before the film started?

The characters never confront their complexities, the only “problem”that gets solved is Lucy’s virginity. As a comedy, the film had a few minor moments that induced laughter, but laughter was soon replaced by the utterance of “What the fuck?”

Rating: ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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