Movie Review: Trainwreck

Trainwreck skewers the tired old formula of romantic comedies thanks to an insightful script that fills the movie with relatable characters, realistic story, and spot-on comedic timing.

Ever since her father drilled into her head that monogamy isn’t realistic, magazine writer Amy (Amy Schumer) has made promiscuity her credo. As much as she enjoys an uninhibited life free of commitment, Amy is really in a rut. While writing a profile about charming and successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she finds herself actually falling in love for the first time — and what’s more, Aaron seems to like her too. Amy starts to wonder if it’s time to clean up her act.

Trainwreck is a romantic comedy with adequate spoonfuls of realism.

Amy story progresses realistically instead of being filled with convenient contrivances and flimsy narrative hurdles. There’s no dashing man or precocious child to jump start her biological clock. They’re not controlled by a caricature villain – another woman of course – intent on burning her at the stake. Simply, life happens. Turning points in Amy’s family, career and love life force the unapologetic trainwreck to evaluate her choices. She ends up sabotaging her own chances, like what human beings tent to do, out of fear.

Amy could have been annoying but Schumer makes her sympathetic and endearing. Her love interest – Aaron Conners – is just a normal guy but Bill Hader makes him an affable every man stand-in. There are a number of cameos here but they all have a purpose. In one scene Aaron is misled into an intervention wherein Marv Albert gives a hilarious play by play account of the whole thing. The rest of cast add as amusing foils including an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton buried underneath bronzer make-up. LeBron James makes an earnest debut and John Cena is more than willing to lampoon his character for laughs.

It may not be obvious but the cinematography here is sharp. Deft camera framing enhances funny moments and tastefully portray raunchy scenes. You can see it in moments such as John Cena standing in front of the bathroom door with a towel on his dick and Bill Hader hammering away at an exposed knee while Amy projectile vomits on the operating room’s viewing mirror in the background.

While Trainwreck manages to be a subversive movie that upends tropes without pandering to the feminist audience, it disappointingly devolves into a generic rom com towards the end. The biting humor gives way to fluffy sentimentality. Also, the movie is a tad defensive of her hard-partying ways, unlike the likeable Lotharios who doesn’t necessarily have some childhood episode to validate their lecherous ways. Alfie (of the original Alfie) and Jacob Palmer (of Crazy Stupid Love) just prefers to maintain their self-indulgent lifestyle because they’re unashamedly selfish. The low key shady Nikki (played by Vanessa Bayer) looks like the real one who does it for herself.

Still, Trainwreck is a highly enjoyable movie. Amy is not a modern variation of the damsel in distress who needs to answer the call of her ovaries. Aaron is not a man-child who evolves at the expense of a woman. They’re not surrounded by BFFs who incite some petty gender war that reinforces stereotypes. Both leads have chemistry and the cast helps them carry the film.

Trainwreck treats women as human beings instead of just clueless doting fools, consequently proving to archaic producers that women led films can make money and there is no excuse not to address that demographic.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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