#AceMediaNews – Dec.06: Judd Apatow deals a hefty blow to girl power, while Joel Edgerton gives alpha males a kicking
It’s been a big year for Amy Schumer, one that saw her shift from niche feminist comic to full-scale poster woman for patriarchy-busting – oddly, via a self-written movie showcase that meets Hollywood very much on its own conservative terms. A decent Judd Apatow film and a dismaying Schumer one, Trainwreck (Universal, 15) sets the bar for mainstream female empowerment markedly low. Its protagonist, Amy, is a talented journalist with a fuller figure, dirty sense of humour and voracious sex drive. These are marks against the archetypically winsome romantic-comedy heroine that Apatow and his eager star deem sufficient to justify the film’s iffier life lessons: women, change everything about your lifestyle to suit that of a more demure man and true happiness awaits.
That’s not on, even with a man as winningly dorky as Bill Hader playing a buttoned-up sports doctor who raises an eyebrow when his girlfriend orders wine with lunch. (So does the film: enjoying a drink and multiple sexual partners seem pretty modest vices to earn that unironic title.) Yet there’s little parity or compromise in a story fashioned as “the taming of the screw-up”. You wait for the scene where Schumer’s character shows Hader’s the occasional benefits of living out loud, or where the single life is permitted any advantage over the domestic bliss of her married sister (a superb Brie Larson), but it never comes. Good thing Schumer’s still very funny – even as she gives the best lines to Tilda Swinton’s gleefully vile lads’ mag editor. But Apatow, architect of the modern movie manchild, ultimately dictates her manifesto.