Film review: Trainwreck

A runaway train of laughs

By The Newsroom
Friday, 14th August 2015, 9:00 pm
Trainwreck: Amy Schumer and Bill Hader
Trainwreck: Amy Schumer and Bill Hader

Award-winning actress and writer Amy Schumer raises her skirt to political correctness and gleefully flashes sexual inequality with this potty-mouthed comedy that is far from the debacle promised by the title.

Directed at a lick by Judd Apatow, who temporarily lost his mojo after Knocked Up in 2007, Trainwreck is a hilarious and heart-warming portrait of modern womanhood.

Throughout the uproarious two hours, Schumer is the butt of her own expertly targeted jokes, and she generously shares sparkling one-liners around the excellent ensemble cast.

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In particular, she creates a hysterical supporting role for Oscar-winning British actress Tilda Swinton, as a monstrous magazine editor, who demands gung-ho headline-grabbing titillation, not gently worded, sentimental froth.

There’s a thin glaze of sweetness to pivotal moments between female characters in Schumer’s script and an emotionally raw scene at a funeral deftly tugs the heartstrings.

Yet, for its adherence to rom-com tropes, Trainwreck is laced with sufficient biting wit and self-effacement to drink The Hangover and its crude imitators under the table, and seal victory with a rousing belch.

At nine years old, Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) learns a most valuable lesson about relationships from her embittered father.

“Monogamy isn’t realistic,” he tells Amy and her little sister Kim, encouraging the girls to chant this as a mantra.

Twenty-three years later, Amy has taken those words to her booze-soaked heart, enjoying numerous anonymous sexual encounters, while dating a musclebound hunk called Steven (John Cena), whose prowess leaves a lot to be desired.

In stark contrast, sister Kim (Brie Larson) has settled down with her knitwear-clad husband Tom (Mike Birbiglia).

“You dress him like that just so no one else wants to have sex with him?” quips Amy, mocking her sibling’s domestic bliss.

When Amy isn’t picking up men in bars, she works at lifestyle magazine S’Nuff with kooky best friend Nikki (Vanessa Bayer).

Out of the blue, editor Dianna (Tilda Swinton) assigns Amy to pen a profile on sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who is good friends with basketball player LeBron James (playing himself).

Amy knows almost nothing about sport, but she obliges, and sparks an unlikely romance with the kind-hearted medic that threatens to unravel the tattered fabric of her bed-hopping existence.

Trainwreck is a wicked delight that asserts independent, single women have the same right as men to enjoy carefree sexual escapades without being labelled a hussy.

Schumer endears us to her self-destructive 30-something, who has to hit rock bottom before she can begin the slow, painful ascent back to healthy self-respect.

Hader is an adorable comic foil and sparring partner, and on-screen chemistry between the leads simmers beautifully.

Supporting performances are equally memorable, including amusing cameos from Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei.

Jump on board Schumer’s runaway, filthy-minded train of thought and hold on tight.