TRAINWRECK [2015]

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Directed by Judd Apatow

Written by Amy Schumer

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Tilda Swinton


When this movie was released I couldn’t find a negative view on it. I’m sure they were/are out there, but from what I read, including my local film ‘zine, it was a 10/10 comedy, one that pushed boundaries and was the best comedy of the year. I’ve never seen Amy’s television show so I wasn’t sure what to expect regarding the humour, but I had heard that it had slight feminist overtones and had been written by Amy herself. I took my sweet time but I had to check it out. It sounded different.

In case you missed the basic plot, Amy is a ‘sexual women’, which I suppose is a nice way of saying she sleeps around. Not only that, but she is a bit of a bitch about it. The beginning of the movie is essentially a montage of her stringing guys along who are perhaps expecting more, especially John Cena’s character. I’m not sure how sleeping around is empowering for women, but good for her, she doesn’t care about the norms of society and is her own women, regardless of what her married sister tries to tell her. The image of her sister’s family doesn’t click with Amy at all, who shuns real relationships in preference for her care-free, partying lifestyle. She does what she wants to do. Initially, Amy is a strong if somewhat misguided character.

Amy is a career-orientated women; another good idea for her character, but I honestly can’t think of a worse way this could have been executed. Amy works at a magazine that is the equivalent of an FHM magazine – which in itself could be seen as taking advantage of women, as they are always plastered over every cover wearing barely a thing. Almost any other male dominated career would have been more appropriate! Apart from the porn industry I guess.

Her boss is a very two-dimensional character who possesses a truly repugnant attitude, with such fantastic lines as “I wouldn’t fuck that guy with your dick” while congratulating magazine pitches such as “You’re not gay, she’s boring” and “You call those tits?“. Oh, and she has a pitch of her own: “Does garlic make semen taste better?

All I can say is “wow”, and wonder what the reaction would be if a male character was the boss of the magazine in these settings, uttering these lines. Aren’t magazine pitches like these degrading women?? I’m not against feminism in any way, but goddamn! The atmosphere within Amy’s office seems completely at odds with the films intentions. The strong Amy we meet at the start of the film isn’t to be found in her workplace, as she listens to these disgusting magazine pitches without much of an opinion. And of course, she eventually meets a man she wants to be with, essentially erasing the strong personalty that had been built for her.

As for the comedy, let’s tick some boxes. Sex jokes? Check. Masturbating jokes? Triple check. This honestly feels like a conventional, low-brow comedy with a female lead instead of a male lead. Again, if that is a step forward for women, then I applaud it. Seeing more female directors and leading actors is truly great. But the movie could certainly have transpired in a way that stuck to its guns with the strong-women angle, while avoiding the cliches of typical romantic comedies. Sadly, it fails, as the second half of the film starts to feel very, very familiar. The ending is particularly cringe-worthy, one of the worst endings to a film I have ever seen.

HOWEVER, I must give credit to one scene, where Amy point outs that cheerleaders at a sporting event are essentially just gyrating for the males in the crowd to enjoy, and she yells something along the lines of: “You’re gonna lose us the right to vote!”

That was funny, appropriate, and I couldn’t have agreed more with the sentiment. If the movie had more material like this, it would have been a lot better. A film filled with material like that could have made for a classic, against-the-grain comedy.


For a comedy about sex that shakes things up nicely, I highly recommend The Little Death, which avoids cliches that have become so common in modern humour.