Amy is a hardworking, hard drinking, hard playing woman. If she wasn’t a woman, she could be any of a thousand guys we’ve seen before in movies and on TV – that’s what makes Trainwreck so much fun.
Written by and starring Amy Schumer, and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck carries the raunch-with-heart stamp that we know from Apatow’s past films – and Schumer’s insanely funny TV series, Inside Amy Schumer.
Amy and her younger sister Kim (Brie Larson) are the products of a broken home. How broken? Their father, Gordon (Colin Quinn) made them recite ‘Monogamy isn’t realistic’ when he told them their parents were getting a divorce (the sequence also involves Dad explaining why the divorce in a hilariously convoluted and disturbing manner using Kim’s doll as a visual aid).
While Kim survived to marriage a nice guy, Tom (Mike Birbiglia), and have an adorable son (Evan Brinkman), Amy turned out to be the party person whose sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle got her the ideal job – writer at a sleazy men’s magazine called S’Nuff where story pitches include subjects like ‘are you gay or she just boring?’
Amy works for Dianna (Tilda Swinton as you have never seen her before), a smart, beautiful, condescending woman who rambles on with illustrative anecdotes that never end to make points she never states (unless actually forced to). Her best friend, Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) works with her and seems to live vicariously through Amy’s adventures.
Amy never turns down a one-night stand – but also never lets the men stay after they’ve finished. She’s seeing a musclebound oaf named Steven (John Cena) who is more than a little disturbing, hilariously.
When another of her co-workers, Bryson (Randall Park), pitches a story about a sports doctor, Dianna assigns the story to Amy – who knows absolutely nothing about sports. The doctor turns out to Aaron (Bill Hader), a sweet natured guy whose working is cutting edge. Needless to say, Amy sleeps with him and is then totally confused when he calls her the next day to ask if they can just hang (Nikki’s response, ‘I’m calling the cops!’).
Somehow, these two horribly mismatched people actually seem to work – and Amy finds herself in a real relationship (and looking for a way to sabotage it because it’s just too good to be true).
You know this isn’t just another movie about a hard partying person when Amy’s father dies and her eulogy opens with ‘Everyone he offended, hands up!’ There’s something slightly disturbing about seeing a woman as the lead in such a film – conventional or not – because we’ve not seen that before.
Once we get past the initial shock, though, that difference (disturbing as it might be) actually feels right. Schumer is a supreme comic talent – and a helluvan actor. Her timing is razor sharp and she’s surrounded by people who can keep up with her.
Odd running gags – like her repartee with Noam (Dave Attell) the homeless guy who hangs around outside her apartment building, or LeBron James as a version of himself that loves Downton abbey and is Aaron’s best (if cheap) friend – add to the depth of this world and provide counterbalances to the moments of poignancy and drama that come along later in the movie.
There’s so much stuff going on, all the time, in Trainwreck that’s it’s a bit of a shame. That’s one of the few problems of any Judd Apatow film – too much stuff that could have been cut resulting in a film that feels like it could have easily ended fifteen minutes earlier.
In fact, that’s my only real complaint about Trainwreck. There’s just too much of it. The result is that the movie doesn’t achieve its maximum impact (it’s enough to lower its grade, but not enough to ruin it). Even so, Trainwreck isn’t one. There’s more than enough good stuff to keep you laughing as you exit the theater.
Final Grade: B+
Photos by Mary Cybulski/Courtesy of Universal Pictures