Weekly Review: Trainwreck (2015)

As a child, Amy’s father taught her that monogamy wasn’t realistic. Now that she’s older, Amy finds herself caught up in the hook-up culture, shying away from anything that screams “committed relationship.” That is, until she meets a guy who might change her mind.

I don’t usually review comedies. This is mostly because I don’t write them. I can enjoy comedies, but I find myself focusing too much on jokes that feel inappropriate.

That being said, Trainwreck is a comedy, written by and starring Amy Schumer, and directed by Judd Apatow. I had no idea it was an Apatow film until the end credits rolled, but in retrospect it becomes obvious in the last half. Schumer’s role is very well pronounced through the beginning, however. She inserts several aspects of her own life into the film, namely the aspect of her father’s MS.

For jokes, Schumer’s delivery is very well executed, and she handles the more emotional scenes just as well. She definitely has one of those faces that gets a rise out of you.

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What I found most interesting about Trainwreck is that it switches the traditional gender stereotypes. While most movies show the male characters as the ones involved in the hook-up mindset, this movie drops Schumer’s character in that role. She has her own set of rules and a wide variety of sexual partners. She’s shown as being in tune with her own sexuality, at least in the beginning. At the same time, the male characters are shown as being the ones who want more intimacy, and her character is the cause of their frustration.

I really liked this aspect. It’s not often that we see female characters owning their sexuality. Even when we do see that, they tend to be the “villains” or the woman we’re not rooting for. It was refreshing to see a female character behave this way.

Of course, this doesn’t last throughout. The main idea of Trainwreck is that the main character finally meets someone who makes her want to change her ways. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Of course, Schumer’s character has more “problems” than just being sexual. In many ways, she’s mean, and she’s an alcoholic. The character definitely needed to work on those aspects. The film does seem to demonize her sexual nature on top of that though, which I didn’t appreciate. Unfortunately, once the overall goal is revealed, the movie becomes more predictable, like most romantic comedy plots. It starts out fresh, but doesn’t end that way.

One shining part of the movie that I wasn’t expecting was how funny John Cena actually was. He has a minor role as one of the main character’s flings. He delivers some hilariously homoerotic lines. He was much better than I was expecting.

There are some scenes that tend to drag. The movie starts out great, as I’ve mentioned before, but it starts to fizzle after the halfway mark. There are some scenes that seemed unnecessary, typical of how I see many Apatow films. Fans of his may view this differently. While I don’t agree completely with how the film ends, it does end with a bit of a bang that brings back the spark we saw at the beginning.

Overall, it’s not a terrible comedy, and it’s probably one of the better works I’ve seen from Apatow. Normally I’m not a fan. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Schumer plays a very callous character, showing a lack of empathy, excessive alcohol use and swearing, in addition to the plethora of sexual encounters. I only watched the theatrical version of the film, and it seemed dirty enough for me. This isn’t one for the kids.

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