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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

Trainwreck movie review: all aboard

Trainwreck green light

A breath of half-nasty, half-nice fresh air, set somewhere near the intersection between a parody of a romantic comedy and a straight-up example of one.
I’m “biast” (pro): growing fonder of Amy Schumer; desperate for stories about women

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Somewhere near the intersection between a parody of a romantic comedy and a straight-up example of the genre, albeit with an unusually frank honesty, is Trainwreck. Amy Schumer (who also wrote the script) is Amy, a barely disguised version of her slightly younger self, she has admitted; the character is all casual sex and no commitment… like, not even of the staying-till-the-morning brand of commitment. She has a kind-of boyfriend in Steven (an unexpectedly amusing John Cena: 12 Rounds), though he doesn’t realize that they’re not exclusive, and a kind-of new flame in Aaron (Bill Hader: Inside Out), though he doesn’t realize what a mess she is and keeps pursuing her anyway. Rom-com clichés come in for a beating, like how all the guys here are the sweet, sensitive, romantic ones (which I think is actually more true in reality, though movies rarely broach this); the standard falling-in-love montage is absolutely hilarious thanks to Amy’s narration, which is disgusted by how repulsively hackneyed she and Aaron are in their cutesy-couple behavior. But there is candid awkwardness and pain here, too, of the sort that we don’t usually see in these sorts of flicks: a woman’s perspective on sex that’s just not working is as funny as it is brutal (even as the guy remains clueless to the problem), but Amy’s low opinion of herself — “What’s wrong with you that you want to be with me?” she eventually demands of Aaron — edges closer to raw reality than many women (and men, probably, too) would like to admit. An outrageous performance by an almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton (The Grand Budapest Hotel), as Amy’s boss at a misogynist New York City men’s magazine, is just icing on the cake. In a movie world that let women be as well-rounded and as messed up as men are, Trainwreck would be run-of-the-mill. But until we’re there, it’s a breath of half-nasty, half-nice fresh air.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Trainwreck for its representation of girls and women.


green light 4 stars

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Trainwreck (2015)
US/Can release: Jul 17 2015
UK/Ire release: Aug 14 2015

MPAA: rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
BBFC: rated 15 (strong language, sex, sex references)

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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