Boy, I haven't written on this thing in ages -- on any topic, not just movies. I started going through my list of what I've seen so far this year, and struck me what an awesome summer it has been for ladies. Mad Max: Fury Road, Pitch Perfect 2 (which was ehhhh, but an important box office success story), Inside Out (*still not over it*), and now this movie, which is one of my favorite romantic comedies in a long time.
This is like a reverse romantic comedy in a lot of ways, and Amy Schumer (who also wrote the screenplay) is playing against a pervasive stereotype of women in pop culture -- the crazy, creepy, "marry me" girl that we see so often in movies and television (a lot of it written by men, let's be real). Schumer doesn't know any women like that, and in her experience men are the ones who become the crazy texters, etc. In Trainwreck
, she's the one who freaks out when Bill Hader calls her the next day, and the guys are the ones who talk relationships with each other and watch Downton Abbey
Okay, let me back up. Amy Schumer plays, errr, Amy, a writer for a magazine in New York. (Side note: I spent most of the movie staring at the actress who plays her editor, asking myself "Is that Tilda Swinton? It can't be Tilda Swinton, but IS IT? It definitely sounds like her, but no, it can't be." (*credits roll*) "Holy crap, IT IS HER!") She's in line for a big promotion to an editing position, but you can tell early on that this is not where she belongs. She's assigned a job to interview and write an article about a sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader), which she initially objects to because she hates sports. But she meets the guy and they hit it off, and soon they're in a full-fledged relationship.
I like that this movie is so much about the relationship and not the chase. We see what they're like together, how Amy goes from someone who never spends the night to someone who spoons with someone she cares about, and how their issues and hang-ups threaten to tear them apart. The focus is mostly on Amy, who has been through so many relationships and flings that she's waiting for the other shoe to drop and dreading whatever dealbreaker comes along, because Aaron is someone she really likes and she doesn't want it to end. Schumer has seen all of the rom-coms that we have, and she doesn't miss any of the traditional beats, but most of them are subverted in clever ways that don't reduce her character to someone who needs to "fix" herself so that she can be with the guy in the end.
What I love the most -- and this may sound strange -- is how raunchy it is. It is absolutely a characteristic Judd Apatow movie, only the women (especially Amy) get to be honest and not at all precious about sex and relationships. I remember when Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof
came out and a lot of reviewers, most of them dudes, complained that the dialogue was unrealistic, that women don't talk like that. Um, newsflash -- yes we do. One of my favorite moments is when Amy is at a baby shower and the women are taking turns telling shocking truths about themselves. All the other women are like "Oh, I woke up in the middle of the night and ate a whole box of Skinny Cow ice cream bars OMG" or "One night my husband and I did it with the lights on, hee hee!" and Amy tells this horrifying condom retrieval story.
There's a poignant subplot with Amy's father (played by Colin Quinn), and I really liked the flawed relationship between Amy and her younger sister. The movie is also set (and filmed) in New York, and it looks like really for realz New York, complete with a friendly homeless guy (played by Dave Attell) who frequents the corner outside Amy's building. There are also LOADS of cameos, particularly by pro basketball players (notably LeBron James, who you've probably seen in the previews, and Amar'e Stoudemire).
I was glad to see a nearly full theater at my afternoon viewing, and with just as many men (laughing just as hard) as women. I hope Amy Schumer gets to do a lot more creating, and that this movie opens the door a little more to women writing about who they are and not just who they think people want or expect them to be.