“Trainwreck,” Amy Schumer’s cinematic ode to funny, slutty, unapologetically human women, is a must-see.
The film follows Amy Townsend, a booze-happy writer who kicks men out of her “sick” apartment before the morning light, as she interviews acclaimed sports doctor Aaron Conners, played by Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “The Skeleton Twins”), who happens to be the object of her first real affection.
It would be easy to chalk the film up as raunchy, but it’s also sweet, sad and occasionally, uncomfortably real. Townsend’s father, played by Colin Quinn, is a dying alcoholic whose infidelity and promiscuity are the catalyst for Townsend’s behavior and her sister’s bitterness.
At its core, the film is a comedy, and I was doubled over laughing along with the rest of the packed theater during scenes like when Amy feigns being asleep during sex or a montage of men leaving her apartment that ends with an unfortunate early-morning sojourn on the Staten Island Ferry.
Schumer’s first foray on the big screen also tackles sex scenes with comedic, raw finesse, much like Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” which “Trainwreck” director Judd Apatow co-writes and co-produces.
At the beginning of “Trainwreck,” John Cena, better known for his WWE stardom than his acting chops, throws himself into his role as Steven, Townsends main muscular squeeze, and delivers some of the film’s funniest lines. Comedy Central sweetheart Dave Attell plays Noam, a homeless man with whom Townsend has a snarky rapport. Mike Birbiglia, a Georgetown University alumnus who got his start at the Improv Comedy Club, plays Townsend’s sweater-clad brother-in-law.
Schumer’s brand of cinematic feminism razes to the ground the stereotypes that are usually superglued to mainstream romantic comedies. On a walk through Central Park with her younger sister Kim, played by Brie Larson, Townsend hyperventilates at the thought of potential deal-breakers in her new-found relationship with Aaron, a guy she actually likes.
For example, jokes about tampons and menstrual cycles made me want to call Schumer on the phone – or at least tweet at her – and thank her for this fearless screenplay about real human girl stuff. As movie-goers, how long were we going to have to put up with Jonah Hill flicks filled with phallic jokes and references?
The movie isn’t perfect. Some hiccups include lines by her editor at S’Nuff magazine, Dianna, a painfully exaggerated version of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada,” and the scenes about her father’s death and funeral could use another edit.
“Trainwreck” also stumbles when it comes to jokes about race, though they seemed more like watered-down versions of “Inside Amy Schumer” commentary than genuine insensitivity.
Despite its imperfections, it’s a film that makes you laugh, makes you think and sheds an even brighter light on women-driven comedies – much like Schumer herself.
In the final scene, which involves the New York Knicks and a trampoline, Townsend admits to her doctor-boyfriend, “I am in terrible physical shape,” and he unabashedly, adorably agrees. Nobody is pretending she is anything but herself.