My test for a successful comedy is ‘did I laugh out loud and how much?’ During most of Trainwreck I was howling out loud! Comedy is subjective. Not everyone finds the same things funny so this may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s on the raunchy side but like all of Director Judd Apatow’s films, the characters are fleshed out, 3 dimensional people. There are scenes that are very painful and moving and full of emotional consequence. That said, this is mostly a romantic comedy with a twist. The woman is the one afraid of commitment and given to inappropriate, abusive and self destructive behavior while the man is the sweet, sensitive, successful catch that the woman would be crazy to let go of.
Amy Schumer wrote the script and also plays the female lead also named ‘Amy’. In the opening flashback scene, we see a young Amy and her older sister listening to their father (wonderfully played by Colin Quinn) try to explain to them why he and their mother were getting a divorce. His mantra, that he has them repeat, is “Monogamy is not realistic”. This sets the table not only for the movie but for the rest of Amy’s life. She becomes her father and moves from one night stand to one night stand to avoid getting stuck in a relationship. This all changes when the men’s magazine (S’Nuff!) Amy works for asks her to do a story on sports doctor Aaron Connors (the sweet Bill Hader). She knows nothing about sports and he’s mild mannered and a little stiff. Of course, they fall for each other.
I don’t need to describe what happens next. You’ve all seen a romantic comedy or two but not from this perspective and usually not this hilarious. Schumer and Hader have good chemistry and you can see why they love each other. Hader doesn’t hide behind a funny character here. He’s playing the straight man which is a first for him but he shows that he can be more than just the funny guy. Just as in last year’s indie film with Kristen Wiig, The Skeleton Twins, Hader is building a reputation as a breakout SNL star that can follow Bill Murray’s footsteps into a diversified movie career. Schumer is a rising star in her own right. Building on the success of her cable show and recent Emmy nominations, with Trainwreck she joins the ranks of Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Tina Fey as an A List comedy movie star.
The supporting casts really surprises. LeBron James plays Bill Hader’s best friend, LeBron James. It’s not a bit part or a cameo. It’s an actual full on character and he nails it! That’s hard for me to say because I’m a Kobe Bryant fan but he’s really funny! Jon Cena was also a surprise! He’s done some standard action hero roles previously but here he is doing all out comedy and I was impressed. The ladies will no doubt also be impressed with his muscled physique which is also on display here in all its glory. An unrecognizable Tilda Swinton plays Amy’s boss and editor of S’Nuff! She also shows a flair for comedy that you would not know she had from seeing her in Michael Clayton or Snowpiercer.
This is all made possible because of a balls out funny script by Amy Schumer and the assured direction of Judd Apatow. There’s nothing fancy here, no crazy shots or deep reflection. It’s just a good ride! Enjoy some laughs between viewings of Mission Impossible 5 and Fantastic 4.