Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, LeBron James, Colin Quinn
Take the King of Comedy, Director Judd Apatow, add in Saturday Night Live alumni Bill Hader, and cast breakout US comedienne Amy Schumer as the leading lady, and you have got some pretty good ingredients for a great romantic comedy. Trainwreck is also penned by it’s star, Schumer, and interestingly this is the first film directed by Apatow which he hasn’t also written himself. So was this seemingly winning formula a recipe for success or would it crash and burn?
A young Amy Townsend (Schumer), is taught from her cheating (and soon to be Divorced) Father that “monogamy isn’t realistic”; fast forward 20 odd years, now a writer for a successful men’s magazine, Amy is uninhibited, single and enjoying a multitude of no-strings-attached hook-ups. She is assigned the task of writing an article on high-profile sports doctor Aaron Conners (Hader), and to her surprise begins to fall for him. A lifelong commitment-phobe, Amy now has to come to terms with the fact that maybe everything she thought she knew about relationships might not be true.
Amy Schumer is easily the best thing about this film. Having penned the script herself, and included a lot of experiences from her own personal life, this is Schumer through and through. Known for her subversive and feminist humour, the quirky star absolutely shines in the role of a single girl-about-town in an incredibly male-dominated world. The gender reversal is evident from the start, Amy is empowered, in control and completely comfortable with her sexuality.
Schumer has absolutely impeccable comedic timing, and can draw huge laughs from just a facial expression. Despite making her mark in the stand-up comedy* world, she is also a great actress and brings a surprising amount of vulnerability to the more emotional events. The scenes between Amy and her straight-laced sister, Kim (Larson) are particularly good, as their conflicting ideologies create tension in their relationship, and also the relationships they have with their Father, Gordon (Colin Quinn) who suffers with the disease MS (something which Schumer’s own Father has).
The supporting cast in Trainwreck are also amazing. As much as it kills me to say (being a fan of a rival Basketball team!), LeBron James is excellent. His deadpan delivery as the concerned best pal of Aaron, asking Amy what her “intentions are” is inspired. Obviously he is playing the part of himself so there isn’t much acting involved, but he is actually unexpectedly hilarious – this bodes well for that Space Jam 2 sequel they keep talking about! An unrecognisable Tilda Swinton is also fantastic as Amy’s boss, Diana, and her cutting, acerbic lines are a real highlight.
Whilst it ultimately follows a lot of the cues we could expect in a romantic comedy, there are some wonderfully self-deprecating moments. Schumer’s voiceover through the, in her words, “love montage” is fantastically meta, and the disgust she feels at herself when she begins to fall for Aaron goes against what we would expect to see in a romantic comedy, particularly from the female character.
At just over 2 hours long, the pacing goes a little bit off the rails halfway through the film, and it could have done with being about half an hour shorter. A tragic event throws the film off course a little bit, and whilst it did give Schumer the opportunity to show some emotion and depth, it doesn’t really seem that necessary in the grander scheme of things.
The finale is hilarious, but it is also really cheesy, and for a film which seems to be trying to subvert the expectations of this genre, it is very cliché and out of character with the rest of the humour in the film.
I saw this movie and you should too. This really is Schumer’s tour de force, and worth seeing for her performance alone. I’m certain we’ll see big things from her in the future as she makes a name for herself as a great comedic actress as well as a stand-up. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and the script really sizzles, as does the chemistry between the leading actors. Go see it, and enjoy the ride!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.
*in case you didn’t know already, Amy Schumer’s stand-up is hilarious! Watch some here.