I’ve been a fan of Amy Schumer’s stand-up and TV show for a few years. She’s honest, unfiltered and hilarious; three things I look for in a comic, male or female. I went to a matinee screening of Trainwreck this weekend with high expectations. Since laughter is the only way I ever exercise my abdominals, I was looking forward to walking out of the movie with a six-pack. I didn’t expect to almost break down into a guttural sob that I usually save for my therapist.
Trainwreck is the “anti-romantic comedy” that still relies on the rom-com standards:
1. New York City
Schumer’s a New York native, so this is sort of a given, but I wish that just once a movie would be set in Kalamazoo or Kansas City or something.
2. Characters with cool, trendy, enviable careers
Schumer plays Amy Townsend, a journalist for a men’s magazine called S’NUFF who falls in love with Aaron Conners, a sports medicine doc/surgeon for the Knicks played by Aaron Conners.
It’s just nice to see a white man in medicine, isn’t it? Even if it’s just on TV. I’ve been to the hospital many a time and I can assure you there are no cute, funny and single doctors with names that are easy to pronounce. There are no McDreamy’s or no McNerdHot doctors in real life, only in Hollywood.
3. Montages and celebrity cameos
There are too many athletes in this movie. LeBron James, Tony Romo, some other dude with a name I can’t pronounce or spell. Save for John Cena, who was surprisingly delightful, I felt like the scenes with NBA/NFL players was a late in the game addition for all the boyfriends who were roped into seeing Trainwreck with their girlfriends and were feeling uncomfortable with how many times Schumer talks about her vagina (which is not enough, in my opinion).
4. A dance number
I won’t spoil, but it’s hilarious.
5. Beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful clothes
Part of the reason I love romantic comedies is because everyone is beautifully packaged, even when they’re playing a woman with commitment/relationship issues who likes to get her drink on. Schumer is in heels throughout most of the movie. Her wardrobe is killer, but my feet were aching watching her navigate NYC in stilettos. My cousin and I both agreed that we’re incredibly envious of her toned legs…so, looks like I’m going to have to bust out the ol’ hooker heels for the office.
Ok, now that we’ve glossed over the ways in which Trainwreck was typical Hollywood fare, let’s delve deep (or as deep as I can get without a psych degree) into the ways in which this movie was unique.
In most movies, the female lead is presented as someone who is either looking to fall in love or is changed by love for the better. We’ve seen it before, probably starring Katherine Heigl, where the main character is dating a bunch of duds, skeptical about love, and looking for her happily ever after.
Trainwreck is surprisingly realistic in its portrayal of the modern woman; Schumer’s unapologetic about her sexual history, weary of monogamy and the traditional model for relationships, and not looking to have 2.5 kids in the suburbs with a minivan. We see Schumer struggle with what’s expected of women, her changing wants for herself and trying to make sense of the relationship that undoubtedly set the tone for her interactions with men: her relationship with her father.
In the film, Colin Quinn plays Amy’s alcoholic father ailing from MS. Despite Quinn’s character not always being a healthy or positive influence on Schumer, she continues to care for him and vouch for him throughout the film. Brie Larson, who plays Schumer’s younger sister, Kim, has taken a different approach to their father, and has somewhat distanced herself from him and creates the healthy family with her husband and step-son that she was deprived of as a child.
This is where shit got real for me.
I related to Schumer’s character a ridiculous amount – not in the way girls like to say, “Omg I’m just like Carrie Bradshaw, this basically me!” when things are glamorous and high fashion, but in the way where I almost felt uncomfortable watching the parts of myself I dislike on the big screen.
I’ve made some bad decisions. I’ve overdone it on the vodka one… ten too many times, and I’m completely terrified of commitment and monogamy.
I’m not an easy person to be in a relationship with. I assume one fight means we’re over. I fight to have the upper hand. I don’t talk about the future. I’m the poster child for Daddy Issues, which I feel like would have been a wonderful alternative title for this film.
While I’m dragging my feet at 27, my older sister is married with a daughter and basically living a life that too me seems impossible to maintain. There’s a scene where Schumer sits with her sister to talk about being unhappy with her life and says a line that hit home so hard, I was about to ask the lady who fell asleep next to me if she had any tissues. Schumer says (and I’m paraphrasing because my emotions got in the way), “I make fun of your life and the things you have because I don’t think I can ever have that.”
We’ve all been there. We look at people who are married and pretend to gag while deep inside we’re thinking of our own issues with commitment. We see people post millions of photos of their babies and make fun of the turn their lives have taken because we’re not 100% sure we can or will be able to be parents ourselves.
The feelings were real.
What I admired most about this film was the way Schumer handled these issues and feelings so many of us have by not resorting to the Dr. Laura approach of telling us what to do. There’s no scene where Schumer finds the recipe to a happy life and preaches to the world that she’s a changed woman. The film was an honest and comical look at life and issues that most of us can relate to without any kind of judgement.
I loved this movie, and left the theatre feeling less like a fuck-up and more hopeful that what I perceive as flaws is simply what it means to be human.
Maybe being a trainwreck is normal?
If it is, I’m the most normal person on the planet.