Amy (Amy Schumer) has always lived by the motto that “monogamy isn’t realistic,” thanks to her divorced father (Colin Quinn). But when she’s assigned to write a magazine profile on Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who performs surgeries on high-profile athletes, Amy has to face her dislike of sports and commitment.
I knew I’d like Trainwreck because I’m a big fan of Amy Schumer’s standup comedy, as well as her Comedy Central sketch-comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer. But I didn’t realize how well the film was going to do with mainstream audiences (especially since it has an R rating).
When I walked into the theater, not only was I surprised by the diversity of the women there (both ethnicity-wise and age-wise), but also by the amount of men who’d shown up. Then again, when you pair a great writer and comedian like Schumer with a great director like Judd Apatow and multiple cameos from well-known comedians like Dave Attell and Mike Birbiglia and actors like Daniel Radcliffe and Tilda Swinton, OF COURSE it’ll do well. And that makes me really happy because this movie deserves to do well.
Unlike other rom-coms (which generally rely on casual misogyny and formulaic plots), Trainwreck takes the role that would normally go to the oafish yet lovable manchild and lets Schumer run with it. Don’t get me wrong—we’ve seen the “woman who has casual sex” and “woman who focuses on her career” types in rom-com settings before, but they’ve never been professionally-driven and sexually free at the same time (which is sad when you think about where we are as a society and how movies aren’t keeping up with audiences).
Usually, the casual sex characters are deemed slutty until they find Mr. Right, and the career characters are deemed crazy with pent-up sexual frustration because they don’t have time for love. Schumer’s character, however, is neither slutty nor crazy. She chooses sex over relationships because it’s fun and easier to manage in between work and taking care of her father. That, and she doesn’t have to confront the commitment issues her father put into her head at a young age.
Amy is ten times more complex than most female characters in rom-com movies just by having sexual agency. In her monologues, she never once refers to herself as a slut or whore. A drunk? Yes. A hot mess who needs to get her life together? Yep. But never a slut. Why? Because nobody would call a rom-com leading man a slut/whore for sleeping with a binder full of women (They’d say, “Oh, he’s really a great guy deep down!”). It’s the reason why this movie is so likable.
Schumer wrote a character who feels real because she’s allowed to want sex, a good career, and happy relationships with the guy she likes and her family yet still have serious flaws that give her room to improve as a person. Although she does reach a point where she struggles to get her shit together, it’s never because she sacrifices things she cares about to let her life be consumed by the guy she likes (which is where most rom-coms fail with women characters).
Now let’s talk about the comedy side of the movie. Was it as funny as everyone’s been saying it is? You bet your ass it was. Remember, Schumer and Apatow—they’re basically a foolproof combo. You can expect a shit ton of laughs (like during the awkward sex scene with the guy Amy starts “seeing” played by John Cena), as well as hold-back-the-tears moments when they throw those heartbreaking curveballs at you out of left field (because Apatow loves that shit).
Also, something interesting, Schumer wrote the best gags for the other comedians and actors in the movie, not herself. LeBron James in particular was the shining comedic star here. He got to play the quirky best friend to Hader’s Dr. Conners. It was another situation where a role was gender-reversed. Instead of playing the “Dude, you gotta tap dat ass!” buddy, he played what would be considered the sassy girlfriend role. And it was awesome. It allowed Hader to show off his character’s sensitive side (because men are more than just working and f***ing) and James to show off his comedic talent.
Honestly, the only part of the movie I’d criticize is the “write an article to save your relationship” part. Like damn, come on. That’s such a rom-com move. Think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Meh, I guess we can’t win every rom-com battle. But I’ll take a writing cop-out if it means I get great characters, comedy, and five hilariously adorable minutes of Amy Schumer dancing with the Knicks City Dancers any day (Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling during it).
Overall, Trainwreck is absolutely hysterical, from the gender-reversed rom-com stereotypes to the star-studded cameos of LeBron James, Tilda Swinton, Dave Attell, Daniel Radcliffe, Mike Birbiglia, John Cena, and more. And although Amy Schumer has already been making a name for herself in the comedy world and on TV for years, this movie will certainly launch her into movie stardom. Please give us more comedy movies like this, Hollywood.