Her Comedy Central show and subsequent internet videos already have Amy Schumer front-running as the media highlight of 2015 but if things go well this weekend she could be the new comedy queen of the big screen too.
Trainwreck, opening Thursday at the Whistler Village 8, pairs Schumer with bromance comedy icon Judd Apatow (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up) in a rom-com that doesn't lick balls.
Schumer stars as Amy, a New York journalist/serial-dater who has lived by her father's credo that monogamy never works and thus avoided any real romantic connection, or even the thought of it. Skipping from boozy date to bedroom adventure to awkward and hasty retreat, Amy happily lives a stereotypical male fantasy, until she falls for a dorky sports medicine doctor (Bill Hader), who she's supposed to be writing about.
The scenario is a bit of a throwback to screwball comedies of Hollywood past but Apatow and Schumer (working from a script she wrote) inject plenty of Schumer's trademark wit and timing with a good dose of Apatow gross-out hijinks (but isn't it time we had floating tampon jokes in a major motion picture? I think it is).
Schumer wins when her comedy pushes the boundaries. On her show, she adeptly addresses the ridiculous levels of sexism still prevalent in our society. She pushes buttons and crosses lines few other comics seem capable or willing to tackle. And that is no small feat considering we live in the most sensitive and easily offended era of human civilization.
These days almost everything is offensive to someone and that someone has a social media platform to whine from. I call it the pussification of society in hopes I get an email that proves my point (because using the word pussy in a negative sense is both sexist and anti-kitten, and the internet loves its cats.)
Television is much braver than cinema these days so it will be interesting to see how Schumer and Apatow fare under the Universal Pictures umbrella. Amy's "trainwreck" character boozes, smokes pot and satisfies her sexual urges but she does it like a boss — confident and cool. But her script (and all of Apatow's films actually) seems to believe that she will be happier if she accepts love, even if her actions don't always seem to deserve it. Trainwreck might not push the feminist message as far as some fans expect but it's there hidden behind one of the best comedies of the summer.
On the other end of the spectrum Ant-Man is also opening this week. Now I read a lot of comics as a kid (Whistler used to have a comic and hockey card store in the Timberline Lodge!) and even I don't care about Ant-Man. The good news is I felt the same way when I heard about Guardians of the Galaxy and it ended up being one of the highlights of last year. And by literally scraping the bottom of their superhero bucket Marvel studio's Ant-Man actually transcends their usual crash-bang-cookie-cutter formula and makes something awesome.
Some of the time Ant-Man is still saddled with a dumb serious backstory and miscast actors like Michael Douglas collecting a paycheque but when all that crap is over with Paul Rudd starts shrinking down to the size of an ant then kicking full-grown people's asses and it almost kind of rules for a while, because they embrace the ridiculousness of it. Watching two tiny superheroes fight in a kid's bedroom and live through a dramatic Thomas the Tank Engine toy derailment is the kind of vibe sorely lacking from most of Marvel's cinematic output (see upcoming Fantastic Four remake in August.)
The download of the week is The Punk Singer, a doc about legendary Bikini Kill singer Kathleen Hanna and the punk feminist wave of Riot Grrrls. Pair that with Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American superheroines for a double dose of chick-awesomeness and another reason to get excited about Zack Snyder's upcoming Batman vs Superman flick — Wonder Woman is finally coming to the big screen. Both films are available on Netflix.