Last weekend I went to the cinema with my good friends James and Emma (hello!). I was visiting with them for the weekend, and we decided to go watch the new Amy Schumer film, Trainwreck, in the cinema. We were quite excited about it, because we’d all heard that this would be a kind of sassy feminist take on the modern romcom. Boy, were we let down.
This isn’t going to be a long, academic analysis of the film, but after leaving the cinema and discussing the film with my friends, I just felt I had to get some of my disappointment out there. What else do we really have the internet and blogs for, after all?
Anyway, the plot of Trainwreck is pretty simple: Amy Schumer’s character Amy is in her late 20s and works with something in media. She likes to go out and drink with her friends and colleagues, and she likes to take random men home and have sex with them (while pretending that she never does this kind of thing to make them feel special). And to be honest, this first part of the film is pretty funny (at least to me, a late 20s woman feminist). The way Amy works the men to get exactly what she wants (which is normally about 2 minutes of drunken sex and then to have her bed to herself again) works so well and is so funny because this is normally the behaviour we’ll witness from male characters in American comedies. However, it never really goes beyond that, and certainly not into any kind of situation that would warrant the label “trainwreck”. If the moral of the story is that every late-20s woman who likes to go out and drink and have casual sex is actually a “trainwreck” then oh man, we have a lot to talk about. It also begs the question of who exactly is handing out the label of “trainwreck” to Amy and her peers, and compared to what? Schumer herself wrote the script to this film, and I refuse to believe that this is the message she wanted to get across.
Meanwhile, things are about to change for Amy. Because of course, like the romcom genre requires, she meets a guy. The guy in question is played by Bill Hader and you’d think that matching these two comic talents in a film like this would be an actual recipe for success, but alas. Hader is given the great honour of playing the boring and kind of weird guy that a party girl like Amy would NEVER fall for. Under normal circumstances. But when Aaron (Hader) insists Amy stay the night after they have had sex, she is forced into unfamiliar territory.
Without giving away the details of the hows and the whys and the whos and the whats, suffice to say that it all goes pretty standard romcom from here – including the inevitable breakdown where everything seems to go to hell and there’s no way of fixing it. UNLESS…. Unless Amy puts on a cheerleader costume and performs one of those ridiculous, over-the-top grand gestures that these films are so known for. Because oh my god, the breakdown when they don’t talk for a few days actually made her SAD! Imagine that! Now, imagine every person who has ever been sad for a few days after a break-up going to extreme lengths to get the recent ex back because they don’t want to be sad anymore. And the ex taking them back without question, because guess what, the break-up made them sad too 😦 Makes you think of all those people who actually stay broken up, I mean they can’t have been sad at all. Because clearly that’s how it works.
I mentioned something about “the moral of the story” a bit further up. And apparently, the actual moral of the story here is exactly the same as in countless other films about girls who like to drink and have sex and the guys who don’t like them doing just that: the girl needs to get a grip of herself, grow up and settle down, and make sure the guy will still want her. Otherwise, she will be a trainwreck which basically means her life is nothing because no man will want to marry her. And this all from the pen of a woman being hailed as a spearhead of a new generation of feminism.