Comedienne Amy Schumer’s star has been rising rapidly of late, and so it jolly well should. With her bitingly clever Comedy Central series and effortlessly entertaining chat show performances, the Saturday Night Live alumna ought to be collecting her keys any moment to the pantheon of Tina Feys and Amy Poehlers who are swiftly annihilating the maxim that “women can’t be funny”.
As evidence, Schumer’s own script for Trainwreck puts a strong female protagonist centre stage and allows her to exhibit all the bad behaviour that used to be the remit of men until two other talented, funny women broke the sexist mould with 2011’s Bridesmaids (in which co-writer Kristen Wiig also starred). Here, Amy (also the character’s name) is single, boozy, promiscuous and commitment-free. We know why, and so does she, since the opening scene introduces us to her monogamy-phobic father. And so Amy clings to the tropes of a carefree woman, clad in perpetually short skirts and high heels but the first to walk out the door after a roll in the hay. This is a world where it’s the men who talk about “making love” and aren’t scared to express their feelings, while Amy shuns every well-intentioned attempt at intimacy. We laugh along at her crass talk and her audacity, but not-very-deep-down we know she just needs the love of a good man to see her right.
Schumer is terrific at liberating her leading lady with one hand, simultaneously demolishing the despicable Hollywood tenet that girls must be skinny (her hems may be unnecessarily short but Schumer wears them like a boss), even if she seems to pull some narrative punches with the other. As a result, the second half suffers from moments of malaise before the emotional rollercoaster ascends again.
But the moments of truth (where couples speak like real-life, not rom-com nonsense) and the inclusion of type-crushing performances from an orange-tinted Tilda Swinton and an hilarious turn by basketball legend LeBron James, ensure this well-intentioned, warm-spirited comedy will secure Schumer’s immediate future.