New US comedy, Trainwreck, has a fierce female voice. Although it comes from director Judd Apatow (The Forty Year Old Virgin) this time he hands the writing reigns to American comedian Amy Schumer who also stars. Schumer might be less well known here in the UK (her Inside Amy Schumer series screens on Comedy Central) but her brand of Feminist, subversive comedy should have us queuing around the block.
Opening with a father’s candid lesson about the flaws of monogamy using a thinly veiled and hilarious doll analogy, Schumer’s debut feature-film reverses traditional gender roles. As an adult, the on-screen Amy buys into her father’s beliefs and a string of one night stands until her uncomplicated love-life is frustrated by nice-guy sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader).
In a demolition of popular culture worthy of Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, Ted), Schumer gives Amy a job on a toxic men’s magazine. Beneath the onslaught of US sports gags, which face an uphill struggle in translation for UK audiences, lies a more wholesome message about positivity and team work. Cheerleaders threaten Amy not because they’re hot but because they’re happy.
Trainwreck doesn’t subvert stereotypes for the sake of it: the film’s pay-off is unexpectedly romantic and is itself a point both about the treatment of women in popular culture and the complexity of people in general. That Schumer’s Trainwreck arrives in the wake of Apatow’s honest comedy This Is 40, suggests the director’s projects are maturing: not only does Apatow understand comedy, he also understands women and love.
VERDICT: ★ ★ ★ ★ 4/5
Running time: 125 minutes
Images: © 2015 – Universal Pictures
UK release date: 14 August 2015