Starring: Missi Pyle, Melissa McCarthy, Larry Sullivan
Director: Tate Taylor
Running Time: 99 mins
Pretty Ugly People is an American film about a group of university friends brought back together to go on a four-day hike in Montana, and while one celebrates a new lease on life, it emerges that the rest are miserable.
I really didn’t like watching this film. While it may try to be a secretly heartfelt and consistently dark comedy-drama, the majority of Pretty Ugly People is a fairly depressing and exceedingly uncomfortable watch as we witness a group of distant friends reluctantly brought back together, only to then begin on four days of constant arguing and childish behaviour, as each and every character manages to show their worst side.
Imagine you’re at a dinner party or something with a friend of yours, and a friends of theirs (who you don’t know) is also present. Then they start bickering about something fairly trivial, only leaving it to become a full-blown row while you just sit there awkwardly with nothing to say. That’s exactly what watching this film is like.
The problem is, while Pretty Ugly People does try to bring about some deep drama in its assessment of how friends grow apart over the years, the idea of desperately trying to recapture the past, and how individuals can become so conditioned by their environments that they change so much, it goes about all of this in the exact wrong way, showing all the worst elements of its characters instead of anything particularly favourable or likable to make you care about them.
The main group of friends features two now-married couples, both of which have one deeply unsatisfied party, and a couple of other people who are just stereotypically nasty and depressed personas, and nothing more. There’s no nostalgia back to how great the past was, and why the group were ever friends in the first place, but instead unrelenting focus on how horrible some of the people turned out to be in the end, to an extent where arguments just erupt out of pure idiocy and nothingness, in a way that I can’t imagine a grown adult ever acting.
Okay, you may be thinking that the main plot is to show these once-popular people now lead miserable lives, while the once less popular friend is getting happier and happier. That would have worked better if that one friend, celebrating a new lease on life, were in any way likable, sensible or even just a little bit cordial.
She brings all these people together out of what seems like nostalgia, but turns out to be pure selfishness, and then she goes about dragging them all around the woods clearly against their will, all the while becoming more and more antagonistic towards them as she notices how depressed they all are, to the point where she becomes an arrogant and equally nasty character not deserving of any of your sympathy (as the film wants it), making the entire thing a pretty pointless exercise.
Pretty Ugly People is a film that’s got a clear premise and idea to take forward, but it does absolutely everything in the exact opposite way it should have been done, providing a deeply negative and excessively idiotic story and group of characters (not helped by any particularly outstanding performances), as you watch what is in truth nothing more than a few people arguing and going at each other’s throats for no reason over 99 minutes, making for an exceedingly uncomfortable watch throughout, and thats why I’m giving it a 5.8 overall.