Film Review – Trainwreck

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At its core, Trainwreck, the latest comedy from director Judd Apatapow is an old fashioned romantic comedy. It just happens to be one that challenges gender stereotypes to a point, and is packed with enough sex, sexual references and strong language to put off more conservative viewers. So if you are the latter, consider yourself duly warned.

However, for viewers able to look past the filth, Trainwreck does at least have something to say, at least initially, in the way it challenges assumptions about the lead character Amy (Amy Schumer). Is there a reason why audiences more readily enjoy the guilty pleasures of a womanising lead male who falls in love and learns the error of his ways? Why not try the same with a female lead? Amy urges viewers in her opening monologue not to judge her.

In spite of this, the film soon settles into familiar romantic comedy territory once commitment shy Amy, who only has one night stands, begins to fall for doctor to sport celebrities Aaron (Bill Hader). There are some very, very good laugh-out loud moments – such as the hysterical monochrome film within a film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei entitledThe Dogwalker, the acid exchanges at the sleazy magazine where Amy works, and one shot during a romantic montage that will mean I never look at the poster for Woody Allen’s Manhatten in quite the same way again.

Another key element of the plot is Amy’s poignant relationship with her father, who, in an opening flashback, explains why he is getting a divorce to his daughters by saying monogamy is akin to saying you can only play with one doll for the rest of your life. Obviously, the message sticks with Amy, who dearly loves him. The film could almost be entitled Trainwreck: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love monogamy.

In spite of that, there is still plenty here to offend, as I have already mentioned. Also, the film is overlong and frankly outstays its welcome, in spite of decent performances from the leads. That said, if you enjoyed previous Apatapow films (Knocked Up remains my favourite of his), Trainwreck is worth a look.

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