Trainwreck

Been watching a lot of Amy Schumer lately, folks. Been loving it, too. This is one of my favorite sketches of all time. Among the many things she skewers well is the way women are portrayed and the way women carry themselves. It’s so goddamn twisted out there, in the media, and she does the loveliest, most honest job of untwisting it.

Trainwreck was her first foray into the big-screen world, and for the most part, she nailed it. Her character semi-satirizes how women behave in courtship (did I just use the word “courtship”?) by being the one who pulls away — i.e., the man. It’s refreshing to watch someone who’s relatable, both emotionally and physically, be the object of a dude’s desire. (And for that dude to be relatable, emotionally and physically, too!) Amy ain’t anyone’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and thank Yeezus for that.

It’s just that… hold on, Amy isn’t really a trainwreck! She’s not! I was discussing this with a friend of mine recently, and we agreed that the Amy in the movie, while maybe promiscuous for the length of a montage, isn’t the hot mess she proclaims to be. She has a good job as a journalist, and seems to be pretty good at it — though sleeping with your source and not getting in trouble for it is entirely unrealistic — and she has a good relationship with her sister, and her father, and… she’s good! She’s a good person! She chooses the good guy in the end, thereby falling back in line with the rom-com tropes she tried to defy, but who cares? Why does she insist on calling herself a “trainwreck”? No one else is.

The real Amy isn’t a trainwreck, either, but she sort of implies she is in her comedy. Perhaps she’s doing it so that no one else can, and I get that. It’s a preemptive label. “I make fun of me so no one else makes fun of me.” But that sucks. No one should judge us, least of all ourselves.

Anyway, back to the movie. The aforementioned dude/guy is the one and only Bill Hader, who just continues to amaze and awe me with how incredibly versatile he is. He’s such a goddamn good actor. In Trainwreck, he is sweet and sexy and sympathetic and smart, without being entirely unattainable or ridiculous. Except for the part where he’s best friends with LeBron James. That part I could have done without. (Go Warriors!)

I also loved seeing the bevy of New York comics strewn about the cast. Dave Attell as a homeless man, Colin Quinn as Amy’s too-capable handicapped father, Nikki Glaser as the ever-logical friend, Vanessa Bayer as the birdbrained friend, Bridget Everett looking like a politician’s wife… it’s delightful. Amy really knows how to treat the city like a character, however overused that trope may be. Comedians are sorely under-used, and she knows it. Speaking of characters, let’s give it up for the almost-unrecognizable Tilda Swinton and her incredible wardrobe. Her entertainment-rag-editor-from-hell wasn’t anything close to Meryl Streep, but it sure was shocking.

Congrats, Amy. Let’s see what you do next.

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