Last week I was invited to a special screening of Trainwreck, which will be out in UK cinemas Friday 14th August. I had high hopes for this romantic comedy, not just because it's the latest Judd Apatow film (in fact, if anything that was putting me off a bit – is it just me or has post Freaks and Geeks everything he's written been a bit sexist? Okay, not including Girls or the 40 Year Old Virgin), but because the world and his wife has been raving about Amy Schumer and I had not a clue who she is. Now I get it, she's amazing, and that's the first of five reasons to go see this film.
1.) Amy Schumer
I kept seeing people saying things on Twitter along the lines of how they were living for her stand-up and marathoning her TV sketch show (Inside Amy Schumer), so I wanted to find out what the fuss is about. In a way it's worked out well that my introduction to Amy is in this film, so I had no preconceived ideas of what she'd bring to the character. If her comedy characters are anything like she is in this movie – they'll be sassy, sarky, quick-witted with just the right amounts of drunk and adorable. Amy plays Amy (okay…), a journalist at S'Nuff men's magazine, a publication that puts me in mind of Nathan Barley's Sugar Ape. She drinks too much and finds comfort in the company of men (seen in a hilarious sequence of one night stands – like watching old Sex And The City scenes, but funnier), though she also battles to suppress her anxieties and unhappiness. Amy wrote the script for the film, which is probably why it's a hundred times better than a usual Judd Apatow film where the women are mostly whiney shrews.
2.) Unlikely Romance
Unlike a typical rom-com thirty-something, Amy is not left on the shelf and desperate for love. In fact, she has no shortage of suitors. Her problem is intimacy, and the lengths she goes to avoid it - even whilst having sex or being proposed to – is hilarious. When she finds love with a sports doctor called Aaron (Bill Hader) it's a rocky road to acceptance that she finds it hard to stay on. One of the film's funniest moments is their first post-coital cuddle which Amy is seriously struggling to get on board with. I love that neither Amy nor Bill are your typical Hollywood beefcake and barbie, it's all about how funny they are as performers.
3.) Family Stuff
At the heart of the movie is the relationships Amy has with her sister and the father who abandoned them as kids but now needs to be taken care of in his old age. Right from the opening scene in which their dad tells them as children why he's leaving their mother, relating it to their dolls ("You like that doll, but what if I told you that you could never play with other dolls for the rest of your life?" ) we see their dad as kind of a schmuck, but one that Amy adores and has taken inspiration from when it comes to romantic relationships. Amy sees her sister's loved-up life with kids as boring, but hasn't found much satisfaction in casual dating either.
4.) Tilda Swinton
The usually porcelain skinned, white-haired fashion maven slash art-house actor surprises with a stand-out comedy role as Dianna, Amy's editor at S'Nuff – complete with cockney accent, orange tanned skin and dirty blonde hair. For a second I thought we'd gone back to the nineties and I was seeing Amanda Donohoe before my eyes. Dianna is the tabloid version of Miranda Priestly, with just as much money but way less class. Sample quote to a member of staff she's annoyed with: "I've had enough of your ginger nonsense!"
5.) Girl Power
It makes me laugh that not one review or press release about Trainwreck didn't mention how FEMALE the whole thing is, often comparing Schumer to Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and other women who happen to be funny and talented too. In case you haven't noticed, Amy Schumer, who wrote and stars in the film, is indeed a woman, and not just any woman – a FEMALE COMEDIAN (not a regular comedian, those are always men). Plus one of the producers produced Bridesmaids – therefore file it under crazy female comedy! This kind of sigh-worthy branding aside, the film does talk about what it means to be a woman in this day and age, to struggle for credibility amongst male colleagues at work, to be demonised for your sexuality, and to be considered abnormal for not wanting a domestic lifestyle. Trainwreck manages to cover issues surrounding marriage and kids versus careers without being cliched or predictable, just incredibly funny (and even poignant – I shed a few tears!). Amy said she got the idea for Trainwreck whilst watching Bridesmaids, and if this rise of the "funny woman" (cringe) on TV and in films is leading to more and more quality comedies being made then that's a major bonus.
Trainwreck is out this Friday, and could be the best film you see all summer – here's a trailer.