Trainwreck may not be a perfect film or even director Judd Apatow’s best work, but the crass and explicitly sexual romantic comedy has positioned its star (also performing double duty as the writer) Amy Schumer for a breakthrough presence in mainstream comedy.
Schumer’s comedic skills and voice shine through so strong it is reminiscent to watching Bridesmaids for the first time and pinpointing the eventual starpower of Melissa McCarthy. Portraying a carefree sex addicted whore with little to no concern for anyone in life but her father (whom has drilled into her head that monogamy isn’t realistic), there is a crude and non-politically correct nature to her character, and jokes that for the most part are all zingers.
Although romantic-comedies are not for everyone, once in a while one pops up that even men don’t mind being dragged to.
That’s not to say Bill Hader (an equally hilarious actor that has been deserving of a major role for quite some time) is no slouch either; the two have fantastic chemistry together as polar opposites. Clearly, opposites attracting is nothing new for the genre, but Trainwreck does mix with the formula by depicting men as the ones thirsting for a serious relationship rather than one night stands and as alcoholic pot smokers
The story goes like this: Amy (Amy Schumer) is a woman who has had a hard time committing to a relationship because it interferes with her promiscuous lifestyle.
Amy is an independent woman who is a lot like her scandalous and womanizing father who finds himself alone in a care-home. This is the same father who cheated on his wife and told his young children, Amy and her little sister Kim, that “monogamy isn’t realistic.”
Now that the sisters are older, Amy and Kim (Brie Larson) are on opposite sides of the fence in that Kim is married, has a step child and is expecting a baby, while Amy spends time mocking her for it. They also can’t agree on what kind of care-home their father should be in, which leads to a bit of sisterly tension.
For once it’s the women engaging in all sorts of inappropriate activities, making for a refreshing spin on comedy in general. Apatow doesn’t just allow Schumer to have fun, he’s also directed a film spearheaded by a woman which is sadly a rare trend.
Even the supporting cast of Trainwreck delivers loads of laughs, whether it is from actual actors, celebrity cameos, or celebrities playing characters. WWE poster-boy John Cena absolutely crushes his brief stint in the first act, playing an overly macho dude with a good spirit, but just doesn’t realize he actually might be gay. It mostly works due to a not being a running gag that lasts throughout the entire film considering he makes his exit fairly early, but he is quite the scene stealer and surprisingly hilarious.
Arguably the greatest NBA player of all time LeBron James is also here as a friend to Hader (he spends lots of time with professional athletes since he is a surgeon) and even he shockingly doesn’t feel out-of-place. He essentially plays the buddy concerned about how the relationship is progressing and is highly supportive, although a complete cheap-ass with his money.
With Schumer you’ll get some crude humour, and it’s nice that we can have a rom-com that is rated R. Although Schumer has been edgier in her stand-up routines and her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, she does a nice job of mixing her brand of funny with a bit of heart and sappiness. It’s a more vanilla Schumer but still funny.
Besides the humour, which wasn’t always laugh out loud material, Trainwreck pretty much follows the blueprint for romantic-comedies, but it’s Schumer’s performance that makes the film tick.
Bill Hader, who actually plays a more vulnerable character, is also good, but ultimately he plays the straight man who seems to know how to handle a woman who has some serious idiosyncrasies and a penchant for booze and weed.
This is one of Judd Apatow’s best directorial efforts since 2007’s Knocked Up, which was also a sleeper hit of that summer. He has given us some fantastic bromances, but it’s nice to see Apatow work with some strong and very funny women leads.
The script also avoids quite a few cliché traps; Amy has a passionate disdain for sports, and seeing as her love interest deals with professional athletes on a consistent basis, you begin dreading countless scenes of arguing regarding the importance of sports, but it never comes. The subplot is handled in a very restrained manner giving the vibe that while Amy doesn’t understand sports, she isn’t going to sit there and pout over an interest that the man she’s falling in love with has.
Trainwreck may not be the funniest movie of the year, but that may not matter when you mitigate a tired and boring genre with a tight script that speaks to people, great acting featuring familiar faces, and a bit of gender role-reversal. It’s also wonderful seeing Amy Schumer and Bill Hader given the starring roles they’ve both deserved for years. With so many action films being released this summer, it might be wise to take your partner or friend to a movie that doesn’t involve an ass-kicking ant or a really bad Terminator flick. Sometimes it’s nice to have some laughs, sappiness and cheap feels in the dark.