We Survived This TRAINWRECK / by Brenna Proczko

As a fan of Amy Schumer, I was fully prepared to love this movie, even though her stand-up bits (#phrasing?) that specifically regard her blithe promiscuity are not my favorite. My favorite are her awards speeches and incisive skits. And since this was a heavily autobiographical script that she wrote (the main character's name is also Amy), I went in with plenty of goodwill and benefit-of-doubt to give.

First question, though: why is it called Trainwreck? If a dude has a good job and is up for a cool promotion, has a good relationship with a sibling and a parent, but doesn't commit to relationships (and might drink too much), he's just, um, a dude, in most cases/stories. So calling her story en masse a "train wreck," well, it seems like something that Amy would lampoon on her show. #amirite #feminism

But I should get positive before I tear it down, right? So, to wit: I laughed. I thought that some of the pairings were interesting - John Cena as her bodybuilding boyfriend is briefly great (though I could have done without the weird, is-he-secretly-gay, pissing contest in the middle of their movie date... but I could not have done without the movie they saw on the date, The Dogwalker starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei, the b&w arthouse meta-metaphor. I put them on leashes). 

LeBron is enjoyable. And Tilda Swinton was nearly unrecognizable, but she really made that character work, in a way that I would have normally hated. Maybe because I've not encountered many women like that in real life (maybe it's a species unique to offices 20 stories up in cities over 10 million people), I often find that type of insensitive, ostensibly fashionable, brittle yet pretty, presumably competent, ball-buster lady-boss extremely unreal and unrelatable. But, #TildaForever.

Brie Larson as Amy's sister, Kim, is amazing, as Larson is all the time everywhere since I first saw her in Scott Pilgrim vs The World. Mike Birbiglia - who I did not know was going to be in this and I was thrilled to see - does a good job at being both mockable and respectable. He has a great awkward moment at the baby shower with Bill Hader where he shrinks into a little turtle curve that just kills me. But he also steps up to defend his wife at the (spoiler alert) funeral, and that was the moment that crystallized for me why they were a couple. Up to that point, since we're mostly seeing their relationship through Amy's hazy lens of disdain, it seems like Kim had just picked the most obvious opposite of her rather uncouth/sleazy dad (played by Colin Quinn, meh). So they made the most of the limited real estate they had to create something believable. Totes adorbs.

I listened to the Grantland podcast(http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/do-you-like-prince-movies-podcast-trainwreck-bojack-horseman-and-donald-trump/) discussion of the movie, which highlighted some of the elements that didn't work which I couldn't quite put my finger on. Mostly: "I feel like there is a lack of discipline in this movie, a lack of preparation," says Wesley Morris (I think; I can't totally tell the dudes' voices apart). I concur.

That seems most obvious to me in the casting of Bill Hader (I can't even remember his character's name, so let's call him Doc). I have nothing against him, but I have nothing for him, either. Since Hader didn't really sell his lines, nor did he have a ton of chemistry with Amy, he seemed about as incidental as a cardboard cutout of a Respectable Boyfriend who will Inspire Change and a Dance Sequence. Since there wasn't a thrill in their interactions, there wasn't a real investment in them being/staying/getting back together. And if you don't have that, you don't have a successful romantic comedy.

Which really made me question whether this should have been one. see also: [Roche's review](http://www.thisor.work/trainwreck/). I think that a woman getting to a place where she can confront her, for lack of a better term, [daddy issues](http://jezebel.com/you-dont-have-daddy-issues-but-your-piece-of-shit-fathe-1712656531), is a legit story line. However, when you make the one-woman-show fit into a two-person story, there are obvious corners not filled. Like why the early montage of lovey-dove is mocked, but the later depression-spiral-clean-up montage is not. The fact that she delivers her Oscar clip speech at a funeral could be meaningful, but there doesn't seem to be any other real function to that plot point. She's just lost her favorite person, she says, so now ... what? They stage what was a fairly good conflict sequence, when Amy does something disrespectful to Doc, and then when they fight she just walks away, assuming that's the end of the relationship. She obviously doesn't understand how to work through this, and Doc is pretty cool about trying to teach her to be a growed up. He is even rather restrained in his appreciation for the unnecessary over-the-top act of apology(?) she enacts for his/their reunion. (Also, how was her story still published? I did not understand that. #movielogic)

However. She had also done a disrespectful thing to her sister, an action that also required reconciliation. But, even though this bond seemed way more important to Amy throughout the movie, it's treated as a penultimate event - even anti-climactic, in a way. I suppose it's supposed to be less surprising that she could repair her relationship with her sister (and sisters often don't require dance performances in Madison Square Garden). But it's also disappointing that the story didn't treat it as equally important as getting back together with the first person she wanted to stop being all drunk and slutty for. #slutshaming

Overall, I give it one thumb up. Because it's a lady-tale told by a lady. Because Brie Larson. Because I laughed while I watched it, and I wouldn't mind re-watching (at least parts of it) for some lines I can steal. I mean, I loved Amy's freak out about the women at the baby shower asking about whether she wants kids, because that sort of gathering and questioning from strangers also makes me super uncomfortable (and I have two kids - the things we put up with for progeny). I loved her hating on spooning, and being breathed on, and sort of wish I had instituted pillow walls at various times in my life. I loved that she wore incredibly stupid but cute heels the whole movie, but did actually take them off to run into a building by the end (and had a great subway moment on the way). 

Okay, then, one and half thumbs.