Welcome twist

Schumer, Hader shine in bawdy Train­wreck.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY LIND­SEY BAHR

Women can be jerks, too. Ev­ery­one knows that.

And yet in the movies, the fe­male sch­muck is gen­er­ally rel­e­gated to side char­ac­ters. She’s a friend. She’s a vil­lain. She’s never the hero­ine.

In the out­dated rule­book of who we get to see on the big screen, lead­ing ladies need to be lik­able — that tire­some, com­edy-killing char­ac­ter­is­tic.

Thank good­ness, then for Amy Schumer, the par­a­digm-bust­ing, en­fant ter­ri­ble who’s there to snap us out of our malaise with one rowdy gal: Amy.

Her ve­hi­cle, “Train­wreck,” writ­ten by and star­ring Schumer, lux­u­ri­ates in the idea of self­ish­ness while shift­ing our an­ti­quated ideas of what we want from a fe­male lead, be­cause, most im­por­tantly, it’s very funny.

Bawdy, brash and beam­ing with con­fi­dence in ev­ery mis­take, Amy does not suf­fer fools gladly or suit­ors at all.

As a young girl, her good time Char­lie fa­ther (Colin Quinn) in­stills in her the idea that monogamy is im­pos­si­ble. Or, “monogamy isn’t re­al­is­tic” as he makes Amy and her even younger sis­ter re­cite over and over af­ter a con­ver­sa­tion com­par­ing part­ners to dolls.

It be­comes her mantra. We meet up with her 23 years later, booz­ing and sleep­ing her way through Man­hat­tan. Well, not sleep­ing. She never sleeps over at a man’s place or lets them stay at hers.

Amy is pro-plea­sure, anti-ro­mance, and just a “mod­ern chick who does what she wants” in gold lame miniskirts. She’s a self­sat­is­fied mess.

Her sis­ter Kim (Brie Lar­son) has cho­sen a dif­fer­ent route, mar­ry­ing a sweet, dorky guy (Mike Bir­biglia) with a sweet dorky son (Evan Brinkman). Amy pokes fun at them with caus­tic aban­don.

Were it not for the great per­for­mances from Lar­son and Bir­biglia, the on­go­ing fin­ger-point­ing at Kim’s bor­ing life might just come across as mean.

In­stead, they just ac­cept Amy (with an eye roll).

Amy is a true jerk. She’s self­ish. She’s rude. And she knows it. It’s an in­ter­est­ing line that the movie skirts for the du­ra­tion and a tes­ta­ment to Schumer that this mostly un­lik­able char­ac­ter re­mains en­joy­able to watch.

She’s is fun, but she’s not nice or thought­ful. Nor does she want to be.

All this makes it par­tic­u­larly odd that for about 75 per cent of the movie this free­wheel­ing char­ac­ter is not only in a re­la­tion­ship, but she’s in a re­la­tion­ship with a re­ally, truly nice guy.

Amy’s editor (an ex­cel­lent, un­rec­og­niz­able Tilda Swin­ton) as­signs her to pro­file a suc­cess­ful sport’s doc­tor Aaron Con­ners (Bill Hader) for “S’nuff,” a men’s mag­a­zine with “Vice” bite.

They meet, click, and get down to busi­ness af­ter a drunken night out.

Pretty soon, and with­out much of a fight, they’re sub­way kiss­ing, Brook­lyn Bridge-gaz­ing, Cen­tral Park car­riage-rid­ing and en­gag­ing in other cheesy rom­com tropes that are over­laid with a snarky, self-con­scious voiceover from Amy.

The big­gest sur­prise about “Train­wreck” is how con­ven­tional Amy’s arc ac­tu­ally is. It’s an eye­brow-raiser that might seem like even more of a cop-out if it weren’t for the mag­nif­i­cent Bill Hader, charm­ing and hi­lar­i­ous even in this straight­for­ward role.

LeBron James is a comedic rev­e­la­tion, too, play­ing him­self as a ro­man­tic-at-heart best friend to Dr. Con­ners.

With “Train­wreck,” di­rec­tor Judd Apa­tow has tri­umphantly ex­ited the de­pres­sive bub­ble that he found him­self in with the earnest but flawed “Funny Peo­ple” and “This is 40.”

But, much like those films, “Train­wreck” feels over­long. The me­an­der­ing third act brings the energy to a near halt, as the film veers into self-re­flec­tion ter­ri­tory. It also has one of the limpest movies within a movie ever.

And then Apa­tow sticks the land­ing with one of the most de­light­ful, side-split­ting clos­ings since he “Let the Sun­shine In” in “The 40-Year-Old Vir­gin.”

If you’re look­ing for some­thing rad­i­cal, you’d be best to stick with Schumer’s tele­vi­sion show.

“Train­wreck” is just good fun, and a lot of it at that.

“Train­wreck,” a Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures re­lease, is rated R by the Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica for strong sex­ual con­tent, nu­dity, lan­guage and some drug use.” Run­ning time: 125 min­utes. Three stars out of four.

AP PHOTO

This photo pro­vided by Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures shows, LeBron James, left, as him­self, and Bill Hader as his best friend, Aaron, in “Train­wreck,” the new com­edy from di­rec­tor/pro­ducer Judd Apa­tow. The movie re­leases in the U.S. on July 17

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