A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trainwreck is an irreverent, raunchy romantic comedy starring Amy Schumer (and directed by Judd Apatow). Her edgy, no-holds-barred humor is on full display here, so you can expect plenty of raucous, risque jokes and dialogue about work, family, sex, drinking, relationships, and gender norms. Swearing is frequent and colorful ("f--k," "s--t," and lots more), there's simulated sex with some nudity (no full-frontal shots, but backsides are shown), and characters drink a lot and use drugs (weed, mostly, though cocaine makes an appearance). Schumer's character starts out the film as a boozy, hook-up-prone mess, but ultimately the film has a message of redemption and forgiveness.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Amy (Amy Schumer) writes for a popular, bordering-on-misogynistic men's website, sleeps with whomever she wants, thinks her sister (Brie Larson) is dumb for being happily married and raising a stepson, and frequently drinks too much. Her racist father (Colin Quinn), who taught Amy and her sister that monogamy isn't sustainable, may be partly responsible for her outlook, but she thinks she's fine and that she doesn't need to commit to anyone. Enter Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), the on-call physician for the New York Knicks, who wants nothing more than to be with Amy and love her. But Amy's not sure she's cut out for this life.
Is it any good?
Trainwreck is far from a train wreck, but the timing is a little off in parts, and some bits are too mean-spirited to be funny, keeping it from reaching its full potential. Nobody will argue that Amy Schumer isn't funny, and her bold brand of comedy takes center stage in TRAINWRECK -- for which viewers should be thankful, because she delivers full belly laughs and makes you think. That said, the film is also a surprisingly traditional romantic comedy, which is a bit of a letdown: In the end, the girl has to clean up her act to get the guy. And while no one will argue that the movie's early iteration of Amy is a bit of a mess (and frankly, in dire need of therapy), some of her power is muted when her ultimate goal appears to be what every romcom says it should be: living happily ever after with a suitable mate. (Also, what's the deal with making fun of women with kids -- a tired cliche in the singletons vs. moms "war" -- and children who aren't "Hollywood cool"?)
That said, there's a lot to like here, including Hader's Dr. Aaron (hooray for an unconventional leading man who's more interesting than the usual type). And basketball superstar LeBron James is clearly having fun with his role, though it's Tilda Swinton who truly nails the film's funniest bits. Who knew she was this hysterical? There are other great celebrity cameos, too. While the movie is good, not great, that doesn't change the fact that Schumer is head and shoulders above many of her comedic peers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Trainwreck presents sex and relationships. Why is Amy so scared of commitment? Does having one-night stands keep her "safe"? Are there consequences for the way she approaches sex? How much sexual content in media is appropriate for kids and teens? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these subjects.
How are drinking and drug use portrayed in the movie? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences?
How does the film address gender stereotypes? Does it undermine them or reinforce them -- or both? Do you think Schumer's humor is feminist or misogynist?
Why do Amy and her sister differ in the way they relate to their father? How has their father shaped each of them?
- In theaters: July 17, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2015
- Cast: Bill Hader, Amy Schumer, Brie Larson, LeBron James
- Director: Judd Apatow
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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