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Film & TV

Schumer is hilarious in Trainwreck

Film & TV

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Trainwreck is the feature film debut of American comic Amy Schumer, who has seemingly burst into the cultural zeitgeist out of nowhere.

Although her hilarious and often daring TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, has aired on US network Comedy Central since 2013, people only really started taking notice earlier this year after her sketch Last F**kable Day (featuring legendary comics Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey and actress Patricia Arquette – see uncensored clip here).

In Trainwreck, Schumer is Amy, a hardcore commitment-phobe with a deep fear of settling down, instilled in her at a young age by her Lothario dad – “Repeat after me, monogamy is not realistic”.

Her younger sister is in a happy long-term relationship with a geeky bloke and eccentric stepson, but Amy shows no signs of growing up.

She works as a journalist at S’Nuff Magazine (think Zoo Weekly but more repugnant) under snarky, stone-hearted editor Dianna (an unrecognisable and scene-stealing Tilda Swinton with a drab tan and blonde wig) on stories such as “How to jerk off at work without getting caught”.

After declaring a disdain for sports, Amy is assigned to write a profile piece on leading sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) and romance blossoms between the two.

As she is in her TV show, Schumer is immensely likeable and constantly hilarious, as is Hader, who is surprisingly successful as a romantic lead. When the film takes an unexpectedly emotional turn around the halfway point, Schumer shows great dramatic skill – many will cry as well as laugh.

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Although it reverses the roles of the two leads (traditionally, the male would be the commitment-phobe and the female wanting a relationship), Trainwreck doesn’t completely turn the idea of a standard romantic comedy on its head. Many of the tropes are still present, both in terms of plot and characters (Vanessa Bayer as the archetypal kooky best friend is wonderful), but where it really succeeds is in presenting a more realistic interpretation of modern womanhood and female sexuality.

Sex and the City is rendered tame compared with Amy’s world and, while it may be reductive to compare the two, it’s worth noting that in its time, the TV series was as shocking in its depiction of women sometimes having and *gasp* enjoying sex as some today will find Trainwreck. Amy is, in her own words, “just a sexual girl”, and it’s refreshing to see a more realistic version of a 20-something’s love (or indeed sex) life on screen in a mainstream film.

It’s worth noting that Trainwreck is directed by Judd Apatow, who is one of the executive producers of Lena Dunham’s TV juggernaut Girls – a show known for depicting sex in a realistic (and sometimes confronting ) way.

Trainwreck is by no means perfect; the storyline is essentially an updated How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and the comedy sometimes isn’t as edgy as it is on Schumer’s TV show. It’s still great fun, though, and fans of Schumer’s comedic style will undoubtedly find much to love in the film.

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