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Entries in amy schumer (3)


In Which Amy Schumer Confines Herself To The World



dir. Jonathan Levine
97 minutes

Roger (Christopher Meloni) is a fellow traveler Emily Middleton (Amy Schumer) and her mother Linda (Goldie Hawn) meet in the Colombian jungle. Just 14,000 years ago, the residents of the region farmed maize, potato, quinoa and cotton. These three hikers do not even know what is edible. When Roger takes them to a valley they must cross by swinging on a thick vine, he suggests he go first because "I am the man." Women deal with this kind of sexism all the time. It is called "casual sexism" because it is not really ill-intentioned. Snatched, an important film that also features a scene where a romantic interest inadvertently catches sight of Emily Middleton wiping her vagina with the aid of a bathroom mirror, has Roger swing manfully to his death when the rope breaks.

Unfortunately and somewhat ironically, Meloni is the best actor in Snatched by far. The film is a substantial improvement on Ms. Schumer's last "comedy," in that it actually features some, but not many, jokes completely unrelated to the fictitious idea that she is unpleasant, unkempt, and unattractive. As her fervent fanbase can readily attest, none of these things are actually true. She is a lovely woman whose oversized cheeks only add to her considerable beauty.

In a key scene where Emily Middleton sunbathes at a resort in Ecuador, she shows off her body, which is also quite impressive. Later, she humbly suggests that her slim physique is due to a tapeworm, which is extracted orally in an extensive and graphic scene. Emily recovers from this parasite in a native village with a disturbing patriarchal culture. She is so offended by the sexism she finds there that she destroys their way of life. These heady subjects all occupy space in the best screenplay Katie Dippold (The Heat) has ever written.

Hawn is not given very much to do in Snatched. The character of Linda Middleton is an overbearing single mother; it is unclear why her relationship with the father of her children fell apart so many years ago, or why she has refused to have any sex in the years that followed. Dippold introduces this woman in a scene where she writes up a rough draft of a dating profile before deleting it in disgust. The profile says that she loves cats and Grey's Anatomy. Later on, we are informed that Linda is learning how to be a sculptor, although her daughter immediately dismisses the singular art she produces.

Emily Middleton also has a brother named Jeffrey (Ike Barinholtz). Barinholtz, recently the author of the Kevin Hart comedy Central Intelligence, plays an overly verbal loser in most supporting appearances. As he tries to recover his mother and sister after they are kidnapped and brought into Colombia, he makes a trip to the State Department when he cannot find anyone who will listen to him over the phone. This is a taxing and anxiety-ridden journey, since Jeffrey is substantially agoraphobic and makes his only income teaching piano lessons to young people.

Dippold acquiesces to Schumer's typical self-deprecating humor, but she treats Jeffrey's illness with astonishing sensitivity. The characters of Snatched are all ill, in fact. Whatever technology permitted them to stop farming maize and potatoes, as the first humans did quite easily, has also meant an end to any intrinsic chance of happiness. Emily Middleton's boyfriend Michael (the talented Korean-American actor Randall Park) explains that he is breaking up with her because she has no direction in her life – he is tired of her focus on appearances, and declines to accompany her on a trip which has the intrinsic purpose of subjectifying native cultures while having frequent, unemotional sex.

In another less sensitive film, the Middletons would befriend some locals who would show their inherent aboriginality. In Snatched, these white women are outsiders to every part of the culture. They are treated with respect for the most part, and they only come to harm out of their own stupidity. Emily in particular fights back with a velocity of violence never employed by her captors. Using an arrow, she kills the young son of the man ransoming her and her mother, and caves in the skull of another man who is transporting them to nicer living quarters. "You are an excellent murderer," Linda observes of her daughter.

The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda was the first conquistador to discover Colombia. (He also gave Venezuela its name.) His expeditions were thoroughfares of rape and murder; no women and children were spared by his men. He was so ashamed by his actions that at the end of his life he died penniless and alone after ensuring that people would walk over his grave as punishment for his colonial acts of subjugation.

Emily Middleton's emotional journey is remarkably similar. On her next trip, this time to Kuala Lumpur, she stays within the tourist trappings so that no one else can be hurt. Emily has not altered who she is, she has only the knowledge that her inherent destructiveness must be contained to prevent it from harming the people around her. There is something so completely non-redemptive about Snatched, a refreshing, if depressing testimony to how little of life we are even capable of living.

Ethan Peterson is the reviews editor of This Recording. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.


In Which Trainwreck Offers But One Saving Grace

It Is Offensive


dir. Judd Apatow
125 minutes

No matter what Trainwreck refers to, it is offensive. If it refers to Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer), it is offensive, since she has a decent job working for a men's magazine under a woman named Dianna (Tilda Swinton), and a boyfriend whose body is almost completely hairless. If it refers to the movie itself; probably the most joyless, pointless waaaah released since Apatow's last film, This Is 40, it is offensive, since they never should have released anything to theaters quite this bad or unfunny.

The one saving grace of Trainwreck is that there are no fat jokes, since Ms. Schumer has lost a lot of weight to play this role and her body looks every bit as impressive as the physique of her boyfriend Steve (John Cena, a former professional bodybuilder). Whoever had the idea to cast a wrestler as a closeted homosexual is offensive. Cena can't act either, and a long sex scene where Amy begs him to attempt dirty talk is more dull than amusing. The moment ends when he hangs a washcloth on his penis.

Amy Townsend's real love interest is Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), whose face resembles Scrooge McDuck's ungainly visage. He is completely ridiculous as an innovator in sports medicine whose best friend is LeBron James. James' acting is actually worse than Cena's, and he gets plenty of screen time in Trainwreck. Casting non-actors in major roles is pretty much the easiest way there is to make your movie an absolute chore to sit through, and Apatow should know better.

Also getting screen time for some reason is Colin Quinn, whose preposterous performance as Amy's offensive father makes the film even stupider. Everyone else in Amy's father's life is sick of the old man's act, and soon enough watching Trainwreck we are too. Fortunately Quinn's lame character dies about halfway through the film. His passing is a breath of fresh air; he was also wildly age-inappropriate for his part.

The smart move would have been to put a cast of talented performers around Amy to distract from her inexperience in more serious roles. This would have made her scenes about 100x easier than the painfully paced slog they are. It actually isn't just the cameos that make Trainwreck a chore to sit through: Apatow and Schumer cast a bunch of stand-up comics and comedians around her, none of whom are experienced actors except for Tilda Swinton. Unsurprisingly, Amy's scenes with Swinton are the best that Trainwreck offers. The rest seems like the awful machinations of an improv troup at a summer camp.

There is nothing remotely real about anything that happens in Trainwreck. This movement away from verisimilitude initially seems fortuitous after Apatow made a not-very well received film about his family life. Alas, Trainwreck is not bizarre in any kind of silly or fun fashion. It is just impossible to imagine this group of callous, unfeeling white people ever wanting to even interact with each other. Besides Amy, not a single person in Trainwreck even laughs.

As a star vehicle, Schumer writes herself as a depressing molotov cocktail of a human being. It is obvious from her Comedy Central series and her incisive standup that she has more to offer than the backwards tale of a woman who has to be ashamed of her own sexuality, but none of that is in Trainwreck. It is a serious step back for everyone involved.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"Doing What You're Told" - Josh Pyke (mp3)

"Someone To Rust With" - Josh Pyke (mp3)


In Which Amy Schumer Obliterates Her Own Vanity

Impossibly Amy!


Amy Schumer's face is a bit too bulbous in certain regions, resembling a squirrel with nuts saved up for winter. Her comedy is mostly self-deprecating when it comes to her appearance. She makes jabs at herself about her weight, her voice, her profligate sexuality basically anything that is not her hair or navel.

Amy is primarily a Jewish woman. Since Jewish women are not so often blonde, Amy passes for a shiksa at first glance. When the unsuspecting goy realizes he is not dealing with one of his own kind, he instinctively rebels against this momentary betrayal. This explains any and all venom against Ms. Schumer on the internet, except from the wives of the married men she has been with. When they told her they loved her, she told them that they loved their wives.

It is possible that Jesus could return to us, but not in the form He took the first time? It is, isn't it?

In one of her sketches, Amy Schumer returns to her domicile and finds her boyfriend wearing clown makeup. She accepts his explanation that he was wearing the makeup as a surprise for her, even though it seems very obvious her boyfriend is hiding a clown woman in their bedroom. The joke is that Amy forgives things that she should not.

In another sketch, Amy's friend and writer on the show, Tig, has cancer. When she asks Amy to run in a 5K supporting cancer research, Amy keeps finding excuses that would prevent her from participating. The joke is that Amy is an insensitive boss and human being. We all know that's not true!

In another sketch, Amy is on a date with a man who is telling her about his experience on 9/11. After she orders her sandwich, Amy remarks of the woman who took her order, "She's cute" after thinking about it for several seconds. The joke is that Amy is so self-centered that she pays compliments to people outside their hearing, I think. Amy finds it very difficult to concentrate during her date's story. Later, she directs him to be quiet while she attempts to Shazam a song playing in the restaurant.

Melissa McCarthy is a lot less conventionally attractive than Amy, but it is still revolting how she is used as a punchline for her weight, and how Chuck Lorre wrote a whole TV show about how the only man she could find would be a guy the size of a house who she met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. (This is actually the horribly offensive plot of Mike & Molly.)

Amy's self-deprecating schtick more closely resembles Tina Fey's. Listening to Fey put herself down over the course of season after season of 30 Rock became exhausting, then ridiculous as the actress who portrayed Liz Lemon turned into a sex symbol. There is a deep uncomfortability with sex at the heart of Tina's act in general. It is the reason why her stylings translated so terribly to the movies, where our revulsion and disbelief at how much she claims to have eaten is not nearly as desirable or sympathetic over the course of two hours.

Tempting as it may be to film Amy getting dumped by Bradley Cooper and go on a road trip with her best pal (one of Judd Apatow's daughters, most likely) there are only a select few people who mankind is willing to pay to watch denigrate themselves for our amusement, and the list grows every time Mary Kate or Ashley Olsen replicates via simple mitosis. In her new movie with Apatow, Trainwreck, Amy wrote her own role as a woman who tries to "get over her self-sabotaging ways."

Amy's putdowns of herself are fresher and more biting (and at the same time Joan Rivers-ancient) when she refers to her own promiscuity. Amy recently whispered to James McAvoy on the Tonight Show that she has been known to use too much teeth during oral sex. He seemed vaguely disgusted and semi-turned on. When he stood up he was 5'1" max and Amy did not appear to be interested any longer.

In another sketch, Lisa Lampanelli sings a really awkward and dated song about her breasts being unusual.

In another sketch, Amy portrays a therapist counseling a group of troubled husbands. Each of the men advocates severe violence as a solution to their marital problems. Amy attempts to dissuade them from such a drastic course. At the conclusion of the sketch, Amy's Australian boyfriend enters the room to complain that he has been waiting for too long. The men suggest ways she might kill this man.

In another sketch, Amy expresses her frustration about how terrible her mother is at using any basic technology. In another sketch she and Parker Posey complain to a waiter who does not understand their dietary needs.

Some critics have taken issue with Amy's many bon mots about her vaunted promiscuity. Offstage, Amy makes it clear that while she is far from sexually inexperienced, she does not treat relationships in any kind of frivolous way. Even on her show, Amy shows herself as vulnerable and committed when her partner seems to require the opposite. This seems like an impossible woman to tear your eyes away from for more than a second, let alone cheat on.

It sort of bothers me that no matter how disgusting a male comedian is, no one accuses him of betraying his gender or political movement because he makes a joke about his balls.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"On My Own" - Kodakid (mp3)

"Goin' Out West" - Kodakid (mp3)