The plot in essence (and it never moves meaningfully beyond that): Renee Bennett (Schumer) works in a basement office, tending to the web site of the cosmetic company Lily LeClaire. Insecure about her looks, she joins a SoulCycle class in which she suffers multiple humiliations—she splits the crotch of her leggings and breaks her bike! Get it?—before eventually falling off the cycle altogether and hitting her head. Miraculously, now when she looks at herself in a mirror, she sees not her old self, but rather a version of her that is the most beautiful woman in the world. (More miraculously still, she never asks herself how this transformation might have taken place.)
Though Renee still looks the same to everyone else, she is brimming with the confidence of the newly gorgeous. Giddy, she quits her old job and sets her sights high, high, high: Rather than maintain a website for Lily LeClaire, she applies for, and wins, a job as the company’s—wait for it—receptionist. That’s correct: She doesn’t accept a high-powered business internship or rise to be a corporate CEO. She welcomes people to the office of the beauty company and then offers them bottled water. Why is this considered such a triumph? Because normally this entry-level job goes to pretty women, and until now Renee didn’t consider herself attractive enough for so lofty a role.
In no time, of course, she has used her Everygirl common sense to wow the company’s CEO, Avery LeClaire (a very oddly cast Michelle Williams, saddled with a chirpy squeak of a voice); her hunky brother Grant LeClaire (Tom Hopper); and the company’s founder and matriarch, Lily LeClaire (Lauren Hutton). The company is launching a “diffusion” (i.e., down-market) product line for “ordinary” women and Renee is the perfect helper/explainer, because she knows how “they” think. (That said, she is never promoted into marketing or sales, or shows any interest in such advancement. “Pretty receptionist” remains the pinnacle of her career ambition.)
Along the way, Renee wins the love of a sweet guy, Ethan (Rory Scovel), who has an affinity for Zumba. She meets a size-zero beauty (Emily Ratajkowski), who teaches her the valuable, grade-school-level lesson that even stunning women have issues with self-esteem. And her elevated sense of self leads to friction with her two best friends, Jane (Busy Philipps) and Vivian (Aidy Bryant), who have not ascended to Renee’s heights of glamour and whom she encourages to “just be better.”
But what will happen when Renee bumps her head again, and comes to realize that she looks exactly the same as she always has? I suspect anyone who’s been to the movies can guess, although they might not surmise that the film finds yet another off-note to hit in conclusion, when the Big Speech about loving oneself for oneself, regardless of looks, is also a pitch for women to purchase Lily LeClaire’s new line of beauty products. (I kid you not.)