Go

Trainwreck

Year: 2015
Production Co: Apatow Productions
Studio: Universal
Director: Judd Apatow
Producer: Judd Apatow/Barry Mendel
Writer: Amy Schumer
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, John Cena, Brie Larson, Ezra Miller, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei

Something you don't realise about Trainwreck until it's over is that it's nothing new. It's the same boy-meets-girl love story we've been seeing since the days of Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.

But Judd Apatow (directing for the first time since 2012's This Is 40), tricks you into thinking it's something new because he turns the tables on the usual gender roles. As suggested from the poster, trailer and all the other marketing it's young New York magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) who lives her life the way pop culture has conditioned us to believe men do – making terrible decisions as she chases everything in pants, drinks too much, etc.

The other reason the film deflects your gaze away from the plot and structure you've seen so many times is because just as you hope she will be, Schumer is very, very funny.

The 33-year-old, who wrote the script, specialises in the kind of realistic comedy Apatow has always been good at directing. Like in The 40 Year Old Virgin and This Is 40, Schumer brings so much more to the screen than was probably in the script, expertly playing with funny moments with timbre, tone and delivery rather than just words, and you'll laugh all the way through it.

Amy works at a Laddish magazine and gets the assignment to interview up and coming sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), but she reacts to him like she does any man by eventually sleeping with him and expecting it to be just another meaningless coupling.

But Aaron knows far less about Amy's hit-it-and-quit-it world, and when he so obviously wants to keep seeing her, Amy is riddled with tension between her commitment phobia and sudden attraction to him.

Again, you won't realise until you think about it more later, but every beat in the story comes in the exact right place for a traditional three act love story, everything from the falling in love montage to the misunderstanding and fight that kicks off the third act.

But the more interesting aspect is the gender politics of the film. In one way it represents a continuing evolution in Hollywood's narrow minded view of gender. The protagonist is still a sex obsessed, immature drunk who needs to be put on the socially accepted straight and narrow of love, family and monogamy. She just happens to be a woman, and the long-suffering figures around her that she humps and dumps, can't commit to, etc just happen to be men.

But in another way it contains a moral message straight out of the 1950s. No matter how unhealthy you think it is or how much you agree with it Amy lives her life the way she wants – enjoying sex with as many partners as she likes, not tied to anything, concentrating on her career and drinking and eating whatever she feels like.

But by the end of the film, the sexually free-spirited woman who makes her own decisions had been successfully co-opted into conservative hetero-normative behaviour. She's in love, committed to one man and with her sexuality and autonomy no longer a threat.

There's also an element of it being the same tiresome morality tale portraying such a lifestyle as some sort of mental illness, some deep-seated errant behaviour that needs to be corrected after some pat emotional trauma as a child (which Amy and her sister are exposed to in the opening coda as their father explains to them why he and their mother are getting divorced).

If you look deep enough, all that stuff is there under the same old fairytale. But if you skirt the surface of what's just another Hollywood love story, you'll have a great time and laugh throughout. Schumer is a great writer and actor and if Trainwreck is well received she's likely to go full Melissa McCarthy over the next year or so.

© 2011-2022 Filmism.net. Site design and programming by psipublishinganddesign.com | adambraimbridge.com | humaan.com.au