‘Trainwreck’ Review: How Funny Is the Amy Schumer Comedy?

17 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck is a standard rom-com dressed like a dirty joke.

The outspoken comedienne hasn’t held back in her shoot for the men’s magazine, not least in a cover snap in which she is seen wearing a Princess Leia-style bikini suggestively sucking C-3PO’s finger. If you’ve watched TV, read a magazine, walked around a major city, or simply been online in the last few weeks, it’s likely you’ve come across Amy Schumer at least a few dozen times.The Emmy nominations on Thursday validated a number of raunchy and troubling performances by women in both comedy and drama – lending credence to the idea that likeability is no longer the key to success for female characters.Scripted by and starring the comedian, the movie has been sold as a film about a young woman named Amy (played by Schumer) who’s unafraid to separate romance from monogamy and live without paying mind to the penalties and scolding that society is ready to dole out. Other snaps feature Amy – whose new movie Trainwreck is released in the US this week – sitting naked in bed with Threepio and R2-D2, as well as posing provocatively with a lightsabre.

The newly minted Emmy nominee has found plenty of praise and success for her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, been on the cover of GQ, Entertainment Weekly, and many more, and now she’s debuting in her first lead film role with the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck. Here, an opening-weekend look at the rapid rise of the raunchy comedian, bringer of viral sketch videos and feminist hero If promotion is an art, Hollywood isn’t so much its genius as its pantheon of deities, the fount from which attention-grabbing springs.

Then there’s veteran Lily Tomlin, a six-time Emmy winner who pulls no punches as a feisty, sexually explicit woman in her 70s in Netflix’s new comedy Grace and Frankie. Despite his virtues, however, Hader can’t hide his shock when he learns that Schumer has slept with an enormous number of men. (He’s not sure of the exact tally, because when he asks how many, she replies, “This year?”) There are a lot of reasons that Schumer’s character might be starting to freak him out by that point in Trainwreck—her drinking, her selfishness, her aversion to nonsexual touch—but one is definitely the notion that her bedpost is too thoroughly notched. The film’s posters and trailers suggest the film is an enthusiastic look at this woman’s shockingly messy life, inviting us to bear witness as it careens out of control without apology and possibly finds its own path to a happily ever after. “What’s wrong with you that you would want to go out with me?” Amy asks Dr. For audiences and critics who have longed to see female actors occupy the anti-hero space that has been so successful for TV’s men in recent years, the wait appears to be over. “For years, there’s been a huge problem for women, because female characters could not be perceived as being unlikeable,” said Mary McNamara, television critic for the Los Angeles Times. “Now we’re seeing that’s changing,” she added. “You can have women who are complicated, irritating, bad, who make stupid decisions, are raunchy. Though her career has been on a steady rise since Comedy Central plucked her from the other also-rans of Last Comic Standing, it wasn’t even a year ago that Schumer still just a solid comedy second-liner, namesake of reasonably successful sketch show with occasional bouts of virality, probably not even the most famous or think-pieced of that surprisingly robust stratum.

You’re seeing a deepening of the female character across the board.” Uzo Aduba knows something about that, as the woman who plays the deeply damaged Crazy Eyes in Netflix female prison saga Orange Is The New Black and last year won the Emmy for best guest actress in a comedy. It’s only natural to wonder about a partner’s sexual history and how it might stack up to yours. (Slate has in fact exploited this curiosity with its popular “What’s Your Number?” calculator.) But just speaking anecdotally, I have never heard from a friend, nor have I heard of any other straight man, whose relationship suffered a crisis when the girlfriend’s too-high number came to light. Amy instead is content with a string of one-night stands, dates with less than wholesome characters, but that changes after she’s assigned a story by her editor (Tilda Swinton). That assessment just seems churlish in light of the last three months: starting with a well-earned MTV Movie Awards hosting slot, and an even more well-deserved Peabody, Schumer has become one of those expectionally rare comedians on whom almost everyone has (or should have) an opinion, a staple runner of the next-day “you have to see Amy Schumer take on [blank]” content treadmill; her current status is somewhere between mouthy magazine cover star and feminist philosopher queen.

She was nominated again on Thursday, this time in the drama supporting actress category. “What I feel when I watch our show is that a collection of different types of people can actually be engaging to audiences, if the story is true and if it’s honest,” Aduba said. She’s profiling a sports physician (Bill Hader), but the assignment quickly transforms into something, much to Amy’s surprise, that could possibly lead to a more long-term connection.

In a Hollywood long filled with laments over the lack of good parts for women, television gets higher marks than film for pushing the boundaries for females. “We had a meaningful increase in the number of women nominated in director and writing categories, a terrific amount of diversity in front of the camera, and in storytelling,” said Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy chairman and CEO. In fairness, though, they’re really only subtle evolutions from undercurrents she’s been playing in since the show’s beginning, albeit to smaller audiences. As it happens, Schumer was also nominated for directing and writing her feminist satire, a no-holds-barred takedown of her ditzy, selfish, promiscuous self. “I wasn’t surprised given the amount of acclaim,” said Cynthia Littleton, managing editor of television for Variety. “That woman just has momentum on momentum.” But beyond the film’s central question of Amy’s romance, there’s a few larger ones that loom over the film: Is Trainwreck another example of Schumer’s sharp, culturally relevant comedy, or does it fall prey to the trappings of the romantic comedies it seems built to criticize?

Among the sketches that landed her on the viral watch list were “Last F–kable Day,” which eviscerated the end of actresses’s erotic desirability with a celebrity-laden celebration of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s “last f–kable day,” and the episode-length parody “Twelve Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer,” featuring character actors including Paul Giamatti and Jeff Goldblum debating whether she is hot enough for Hollywood. She takes cherished objects we put on pedestals — football culture, natural beauty, celebrity sex appeal, pop song affirmations — and decimates them.

While there are flashes of the clever satire and dazzling raunch that has made Schumer a star — Tilda Swinton’s fantastic turn as a maniacal men’s magazine editor is a highlight — as a whole, Trainwreck is glossier, sweeter, and a bit more self-conscious than Schumer’s typical material. Both clever and profane, they’re nevertheless different mostly because of the star power Schumer is now able to draw into her orbit — she’s said both of those things (in mildly less ambitious ways) in the 20 episodes before, too. She makes us wonder how we’ve been living with so much blatant inequality (at least the gender variety) and accepting all the outlandish ludicrousness.

For some, the answer seems to be a resounding yes, as EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his B+ review, called the film “ one of the freshest and filthiest coming-out parties in a while. Given the fitful ascendance of feminism among youth and in the respectable quarters of the Internet, it’s not even really a matter of people being willing to listen, as being suddenly aware of what she’s been saying. The 36-year-old said, “There are guys in these movies who say, ‘I thought she was a sweet girl, but then she’d been with 100 guys!’ That doesn’t mean she’s not a sweet girl.” Another 32-year-old, who is engaged to his partner of three years, likewise isn’t fazed by 100. “If you’ve had 100 perfectly healthy and safe one-night stands, then go nuts,” he said. But even though Trainwreck is a rom-com that’s seemingly at odds with its poster girl’s persona, it still succeeds — there’s just never any danger of it actually going off the rails. Rather than toning down [Schumer’s] prickly persona to conform to the studio cookie cutter, she stays true to what makes her laugh.” “Trainwreck isn’t so radical that it subverts the formulaically feel-good ending implied in its setup.

Still, there is some kind of victory even in this, that Schumer can remain unadulterated and still attract the most powerful spotlights — particularly since her ideas are so intimately tied into her comedy, given really almost no cover, other than being quite funny. For large swaths of the movie, Trainwreck operates like a satire, a poke aimed at films like The Devil Wears Prada, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and anything Katherine Heigl has ever been in. Plenty of stars these days are happy to beat a feminist drum in interviews and at award shows, but relatively few, even among other comedians, are wrestling with it in such direct, contemporary ways in their actual work.

But Schumer gives their raunchy rom-com enough of her signature spikiness to prevent it from ever feeling predictable.” “What’s energizing and exciting about Amy, especially when compared with the sexless cuties populating rom-coms, in which female pleasure is often expressed through shopping, is that her erotic appetites aren’t problems that she needs to narratively solve and vanquish. From picking apart the subtle art of automatically deflecting compliments to unabashedly (and, to a degree, exaggeratedly) discussing her sex life with proud abandon, nearly everything she says on her show and on stage openly addresses how women live now, and how often they explicitly and implicitly get the s–t end of the stick, still.

But the men’s magazine in question is S’Nuff, which publishes articles like “Ugliest Celebrity Kids Under 6″ and “You’re Not Gay, She’s Boring”; Amy’s apartment easily starts to feel claustrophobic once you see Amy and Aaron try to share the space; and even though Amy resides in a city of millions, her only true friend is the homeless man outside her building. She likes sex, thanks, as an early montage of her shuffling through various men nicely illustrates.” “In scenes like the argument with Hader’s Aaron — and even more so a stirring funeral eulogy she delivers — Schumer also reveals surprising range, displaying a true vulnerability that explains the tossed barbs and empty bottles.

Similarly, Match.com sent me results from their annual Singles in America survey that found that out of 2,478 men asked, 1,871—75.5 percent—said they’d be comfortable dating someone who’s had more sexual partners than themselves. Schumer plays Amy, a boozy pot-smoking journalist, who unapologetically sleeps around, cheating on her sort-of boyfriend, a sensitive tank of a guy played by WWE’s John Cena. Some of the guys I spoke with expressed anxiety about dating someone who has had too few partners. “If anything, I prefer people that have had more partners,” the 32-year-old fiancé said. “Because they’ve had more time to come into their own as a sexual being.” The 36-year-old agreed. “At my age now, I would rather date women that have dated a lot than not have dated at all. She drinks, she has casual sex (but never spends the night), she smokes pot, and she sometimes goes to the movies with her semifreddo boyfriend Steven (played by the fantastic John Cena). His subtle, often wordless reactions perfectly punctuate scenes such as when sports-hating Amy claims her favorite team is the Orlando Blooms.” “The movie boasts the best title of any comedy this summer.

Not only has the coverage of Schumer mercifully resisted most hints of the “why aren’t there more funny women” canard — even as former Disney CEOs have kept this nonsense up — but at virtually no point has it been assumed that Schumer speaks for all or even most women: she’s possibly the first woman to be de-facto treated like she has a point of view, not the point of view. This all runs against the grain of her younger sister, Kim (Brie Larson), who has set up shop with her husband — a crewneck sweater that’s taken human form — and sensitive stepson in the suburbs.

He’s the nicest of nice guys, and he occupies the traditional female role, puzzling over his every interaction with Amy and talking about his fears and feelings with his best friend, who happens to be LeBron James. Even her allies are not afraid to pick apart her messages, not worried that by pointing out perceived flaws they risk blotting out a higher idea, nor lulled into contentment by the mere blessed presence of someone, anyone saying one particular thing that needs saying, whatever else they’re overlooking. The 26-year-old said that when he learned about his girlfriend and one of her ex’s former rendezvous locations, the couple had a big fight. “It’s always worse when you have a specific location or detail or something,” he said.

Some of that is just the increasing prevalence of a diverse array of voices in niche areas, but no doubt a degree of the confidence comes from the fact you can also find a degree of this diversity in the mainstream, too. The short story “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt” seemed pretty revolutionary when it was published, because its heroine gets drunk and sleeps with a stranger on a train, who she doesn’t even particularly like.

But she is just enough of a train wreck to be unpleasant, selfish and obnoxious.” “What makes the movie feel sharp and new is that Schumer acknowledges the self-loathing, the self-sabotage, that can roil the psyche of even a bright, sexually powerful woman in a society that mostly values supermodels. She just plays her observations for comedy, sometimes rueful, more often outrageous, while knowing the sadness will leak through on its own.” “And while the picture is occasionally very funny — because when she lets loose, Schumer does have a fantastic, loosey-goosey wiliness — it also feels carefully constructed to make its points, chief among them that men can get away with all kinds of bad or crazy behavior that women can’t.” “With films such as Funny People and This Is 40, Apatow has toyed with finding the right blend of the serious and the hilarious and finally hits it here. As much as that’s a societal shift, Schumer has done her part, too, whether that’s drawing in the likes of Fey, Louis-Dreyfus and Patricia Arquette for that “f–kable” sketch, surrounding herself with other women writers (most notably co-executive producer Jessi Klein) or giving showcases to voices like Tig Notaro (in an earlier season) or Bridget Everett (whose cabaret parody closed the most recent one).

The 32-year-old said his wife only has a couple of men in her past, which makes it easier for him to let go of anxiety about where he falls in her sexual rankings. “My gut reaction would be self-consciousness about if I was the biggest or the best, or if she was happy with me, or if the guy before me was better than I was,” he said. Whether you end up liking Amy or not, you feel for her on her journey, and that’s a testament to the director/star chemistry.” “Schumer has never had anything like a leading film role, but self-revealing stand-up and a TV series have limbered her up for the job. None of this is an endpoint of any kind — however blind Schumer might be on race, for instance, the people who write her cheques remain significantly blinder — but it is at least encouraging that even someone in the highest gears of the Hollywood publicity machine can still have her voice emerge; it’s even more encouraging that the voice is rightly situated as one of many, however loud it might be for the moment. The proud lady hedonist has been mainstream since “Sex and the City’s” Samantha slept her way through Manhattan and made it all look so glamorous. “Trainwreck” has some nervy moments. Slowly and slyly, the movie begins to reveal that Kim’s life with kids isn’t actually the hell we think it is, until Amy starts realizing — in large part due to a monogamous relationship with Aaron — that this is what she wants and that she’ll have to clean up her life to get it to this point.

If she doesn’t have quite the range of some other nascent stars Apatow has worked with, her writing makes up for it, and she’s comfortable enough with the director’s trademark improvisation that Trainwreck plays as if it were fully scripted.” “The film is full of terrific sequences, moments and notions—you don’t care if it feels hit or miss when there are many more hits than misses. But as their relationship progressed, it started to bother him—which in itself bothers him. “I don’t know if I’m too sensitive or it’s something that happens when you get more attached to someone,” he said. “Suddenly you start feeling more jealous about things from the past.” This was maybe the most intriguing theme running through my conversations. But then Amy’s life gets to be no laughing matter, the tone turns tentative, the jokes turn sour, the momentum slows and the previously irrepressible energy feels false. The filmmakers try to regain their footing with storytelling strategies that include a fantasy device notable only for its leaden execution, and a grotesquely overproduced climax. Afterwards, she watches the tape of the show and is mortified by her performance. “It was kind of like there was nowhere to go but up,” she later said.

What makes Schumer special is that she isn’t afraid of pointing fingers at everyone when she’s making her points about sexism, or sex, or the sexism of sex. As in previous Apatow films, the temptations of togetherness eventually drown the siren call of the boudoir. “ “Amy Schumer makes you laugh till it hurts.

She’s willing to punch up at the way women are pigeonholed by society, how their looks are picked over again and again, and how women are taught to be their own worst enemies. Making these two women’s lives — the messy floozy or the earnest housewife — the only options in the movie (with Kim’s being the better option), and making Amy choose, is limiting and sounds like something Schumer would rage against rather than write. In the lead role and as screenwriter — with director Judd Apatow expertly harnessing her energy, not taming it — Schumer is a whole summer of comic fireworks wrapped in one ballsy package.

Ellen DeGeneres takes notice of the emerging comedian and invites her onto her show. “She saw (Last Comic Standing) and she brought my name up, which is like, that just made my life,” Schumer said at the time. “That feels like the best thing that’s happened so far.” On the comedy club circuit, Schumer moves up from opening for comics like Jim Norton to headlining. She’s selected by John Oliver to perform a set on John Oliver’s Stand Up Special alongside some people named Marc Maron, Maria Bamford and Hannibal Buress. Referring to his co-star Ryan Dunn, who was killed in a drunk driving accident, she says: “I am — no joke — sorry for the loss of your friend Ryan Dunn. But even as she’s doing the traditional man’s job, she’s also running towards the conventional wisdom that equates happiness with being someone’s other half. And Amy’s coworkers at S’Nuff Nikki (Vanessa Bayer), Bryson (Randall Park), and Schultz (Jon Glaser) are an affable rogues’ gallery of every terrible person you’ve ever shared an office with — which allows Swinton to shine even brighter.

But now, he like, expects me to go to his graduation.” Schumer is back for another Comedy Central roast, this time going after Roseanne Barr. “Roseanne, you have the voice of a parakeet and the face of a much fatter parakeet. Her father, Gordon (Colin Quinn), is suffering from multiple sclerosis, but is still the casually racist asshole who cheated on Amy’s mother and told his daughters not to believe in monogamy. But part of Amy’s transformation is seeing the inherent adorability in the kid’s shtick. “Trainwreck’s” biggest bummer is the way it mistakes shock value for either humor or rebellion.

No detail of her sex and dating life is off limits, including telling a prudish bridal party: “One time, I let a cab driver finger me.” The cab driver has yet to confirm the story. When Amy makes jokes about tampons, her efforts to gross out her sister — and Schumer’s attempts to do the same to the audience — are transparent. And while Schumer and Hader are disarming and fulfill their duties as our charming leads, it feels like Schumer was most comfortable when she wasn’t writing for herself.

The double entendre of the title helps to signal its core raunchy feminism, as does its very first sketch, a send-up of infamous porn video Two Girls, One Cup. The team comes up with an idea for a sketch in which an actress’s sexual desirability has a literal expiration date, but producers can’t find any stars willing to play along.

The season begins with a sketch commenting on objectification of women in showbiz where a focus group of men discusses what they think of Schumer and her TV show. She tells a story of a disappointing sexual encounter that taught her to be her own fairy godmother, concluding: “I am a woman with thoughts and questions and s–t-to say.

In a post called “Apatow’s Funny-Chubby Community Has New Member,” film and TV critic Jeff Wells criticizes the director for casting the “unattractive” Schumer. In it Schumer stumbles upon Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus having an idyllic picnic in the woods and toasting Louis-Dreyfus’s final day of sexual desirability. “The fact that it continued into my 50s?” Louis-Dryfus says, surprised hers came as late as it did. “I thought that US Weekly had made some sort of a clerical error.” Tina Fey later told the New York Times that she did the sketch because she’s a fan of Schumer’s: “She’s ‘all the way’ funny… That’s what is inarguable. Schumer accepts the Trailblazer Award at the Glamour UK’s Women of the Year Awards, giving a gracious, disjointed speech, most memorable for the line, “I’m probably like 160 pounds right now and I can catch a dick whenever I want — like, that’s the truth. Schumer confirms she turned down Comedy Central’s offer to host The Daily Show, saying, “picturing being in a building and knowing what I was going to do for five years — I love not knowing.

And I apologize if I did.” Schumer graces the glossy cover of Glamour’s August issue with a headline “Bow Down, It’s Amy.” In the cover story, Schumer sums up her aspirations as a feminist icon saying, “I want to make women laugh.

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