The Trouble with Trainwreck

Trainwreck_posterTrainwreck got a lot of acclaim from people and was even being talked about before its release since it was expected to be a unique take on romantic comedies that was written by a woman. People that had seen it before me lauded it for being a feminist masterpiece, saying that Amy Schumer’s film was shaping the romcom genre in a big way. Yet I left the theater feeling more than a little bit dismayed.

I’m not going to say that I didn’t laugh, and despite not being over the moon about Trainwreck, I enjoy Schumer’s standup for the most part. (I think sometimes her jokes are a bit too crude for my personal tastes, and she tends to put her foot in her mouth with racist jokes or jokes that are in poor taste, though.) Bottom line: I don’t hate her, and I don’t even necessarily hate Trainwreck. It was good for some laughs, I enjoy Judd Apatow’s movies, I was thrilled to see Bill Hader in a larger role, and it is refreshing to see a movie written by a woman.

Now here is my biggest issue with it: Once again, we have a romantic comedy where a woman prospers with the introduction of a male character to her life, as if she needed saving or redirecting. It seems like the places where Schumer deviated from the norm were when she made her female protagonist into a woman that likes to drink, smoke weed, and sleep around. This is fine and all, but it wasn’t consistent—as soon as Schumer meets Bill Hader’s character, she changes anyway and stops drinking, smoking, and meeting up with other men to enter into a committed relationship, something she previously scoffed at. Schumer had dated other men and never gave into their pressures of monogamy, yet she does immediately for Hader. (In fact, I’m pretty sure she told him no multiple times and he was just like, “No, you like me and we’re dating now” to which she complied.) Are we supposed to walk away from this thinking that the influence of true love is able to transform us into the “right” kind of person and that all of our questionable actions are fine and dandy until we decide it’s time to settle down? Hell in the end of it, she’s dancing with professional basketball dancers, something she previously rolled her eyes at, because she knows he likes basketball! And of course there’s the typical trope of working as a journalist and writing an article to win back the affections of your estranged lover. This INFURIATES me. When does this happen?! I’m glad I’ve never seen it because that means I must be reading the right editorials and not the kind of magazines that every movie star bases journalism off of where they’re able to post this “I love you, I screwed up, please come back” garbage.

Schumer had a platform where she could have done anything, but she basically rewrote How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days with a Kate Hudson character that doesn’t [initially] give a shit what anyone has to say. From the way people were discussing Trainwreck, I was expecting to walk away having seen a movie that might set romantic comedies on a new course, but I feel like she fell into predictable patterns and ultimately didn’t do anything special. She had a unique character for a little while, but she let it succumb to the influence of a man. Schumer could have written it so the character stayed the same throughout the film and found a partner that accepted her as is, and that alone would have been drastically different from other romantic comedies.

Honestly I love romcoms. They’re cheesy and I don’t have to think a lot while watching them—and sometimes that’s all I’m looking for in a movie. I’ll keep Trainwreck on my shelf as a comfort movie to watch when I’m sick, unable to process complicated scenarios, and all I need is a cheap laugh.

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