Earlier in the week I desperately needed a movie break and went to see Trainwreck.
The next morning my mother left me a voicemail message about how all the commentators on Morning Joe had been discussing the film during a segment, and they were shocked by how vulgar the film is. She wanted my opinion.
I told her just as I’m going to tell you that the film is coarse and funny and also – and this is what really hooked me – sweet and surprisingly romantic.
Now, let me ask you, do you think those same commentators took up valuable airtime to discuss the vulgarity of The Hangover? I doubt it.
What a double standard.
In Trainwreck, which stars and is written by Amy Schumer, a promiscuous young woman (conveniently named Amy) who unexpectedly finds love and has no idea what to do with it. The film shows us the family situation that led her to have no faith in monogamy, it depicts how the lifestyle is not really working for her, and it reveals the insecurities that (initially) make her think that she does not really deserve more than she is getting.
That’s quite a character arc, and Schumer pulls it off in the writing and with the performance.
Of course, she has some help along the way. Tilda Swinton is hilarious as Schumer’s boss, an editor at a men’s magazine. LeBron James is funny as…well…as LeBron James. I don’t really follow sports, so I have no idea if this performance is remotely reminiscent of his public persona.
And, Bill Hader. He really seals the deal for me as the “good guy” love interest, a kind man who happens to be a doctor. He plays Aaron, a sort of shy and awkward and…well…simply wonderful guy. I think I’m getting a crush on Bill Hader (or Aaron).
Or, maybe I’m thinking of Mark Darcy (or Colin Firth).
After all, in a way, Trainwreck is like a raunchier version of Bridget Jones’s Diary.
The dynamic between Amy and Aaron is similar to that between Bridget and Mark, and I couldn’t help but pull for the American couple as much as I did the English (yes, I’m thinking about Colin Firth in that hideous Christmas jumper right now).
Trainwreck also makes me think a bit of the Chris Rock film Top Five, which was also a sweet surprise. If you missed that last year, by all means check it out as another unexpectedly charming and funny film that will be a fit for people who don’t like rom coms as a rule but who are open to romance.
Now, here are a few words about Judd Apatow, who directed Trainwreck. I’m ambivalent about some of his work – loved Freaks and Geeks, enjoyed The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and was surprised (in a good way) by Funny People, yet not so keen on Knocked Up or This is 40 for various ideological reasons.
But, clearly, he plays well with others and facilitates funny women such as Lena Dunham (HBO’s Girls) and, now Amy Schumer, realizing their own creative visions. I’ve been impressed by his willingness to use his considerable clout to support these projects and by his willingness to take a social media stand against the comedy icon Bill Cosby before it was popular to do so.
I am very curious about Apatow’s upcoming projects. Will there be patterns that emerge?
Back to Trainwreck: two friends of mine told me that their thirty-something daughter who lives in Manhattan saw the movie and said she wanted to turn around immediately, walk back into the theater, and see it again.
Honestly, I wouldn’t mind seeing this movie a second time myself…