“Trainwreck” is a comedy that can’t really be described as anything but refreshing. It’s the first major feature film from Comedy Central star Amy Schumer, who wrote the screenplay as well as starred in it (Judd Apatow, who hasn’t released a really good comedy for a few years now, directs). Really, “Trainwreck” has just about everything you could want in a comedy; it’s equal parts funny—and doesn’t rely entirely on gross humor, it’s legitimately funny—heart-wrenching, and sweet.
The film opens with a flashback of Amy and her sister as kids. Their dad tells them he and their mom are getting a divorce, drilling into their heads that “monogamy isn’t realistic”. Fast forward twenty-three years, and Amy is a writer at a trashy magazine, who drinks hard and has commitment issues. When she declares her hatred of sports, her editor Dianna (Tilda Swinton) assigns her to interview rising sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). But when it turns out that Amy really likes Aaron, and Aaron really likes Amy, she gets confused as to whether she should consider settling down or just call the whole thing off. On top of all that, Amy has issues with moving her sick dad (Colin Quinn) into a retirement home and getting along with her sister Kim (Brie Larson), who is about as opposite from Amy as one can get—she’s married, with a stepson and a baby on the way.
“Trainwreck” is filled with a stellar cast ranging from today’s greatest character actors to people who have barely even acted before. Swinton disappears into her character—as she usually does—portraying Dianna with an unflinching coldness that’s hilarious. Vanessa Bayer plays Nikki, Amy’s nervous friend from the magazine, while wrestler John Cena suprises as Steven, a guy Amy is kind of seeing but who shocks her when he says he wants to get serious. But out of all the supporting cast, the biggest shout-out has to go to Lebron James, who plays himself. As one of Dr. Conners’ clients, James is also one of his closest friends, and deals out relationship advice while also poking some fun at himself, like in this exchange:
LeBron: Do you know Cleveland is great for the whole family?
Aaron: Yes, yes. Yes I do. You tell me that all the time. You randomly just text me that.
LeBron: Man, What’s wrong with that?
Aaron: It’s just weird. It’s weird.
LeBron: I got free texting.
Like Cena, James is surprisingly hilarious—a revelation, even, considering that this is his first film role—and steals every scene he’s in. If he ever decides to take a break from basketball, he could have a great comedy career waiting for him.
Then there’s Hader, who is great as the most normal guy who Amy has ever dated; he’s sweet, but with an underlying nervousness about how to pursue the relationship further. But of course, this is Schumer’s show. Her brand of humor is a breath of fresh air. There’s no subject too gross or raunchy for her to discuss, and her matter-of-fact way of talking about those subjects is hilarious in and of itself. But she also handles the dramatic scenes very nicely. The audience is given absolutely no reason to like her character in the beginning, but when we see her family situation, it’s hard not to feel for her.
As mentioned before, Schumer also wrote the script, and it’s brilliant. Sure, it isn’t perfect—the movie is a little overlong, and we aren’t given any reason as to why exactly Conners is different to Amy from the other guys she’s been with—but it is hilarious and heartfelt. Has there ever been a comedy like this with a female lead? Not really. It’s not an overtly feminist movie, but Schumer does do everything from poking fun at romantic comedy tropes in a montage sequence to at one point calling out to a group of cheerleaders “You’re losing us the right to vote!”
“Trainwreck” builds to a satisfying conclusion. The story may be predictable, but the way it’s told is not. It’s not only the funniest movie of the year so far, it’s also one of the best romantic comedies in recent memory, one that turns the genre on its head while also giving audience everything they could want from it.
Runtime: 125 minutes. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
Check out showtimes for this movie and more at the following St. Louis-area theaters:
- Wehrenberg Theatres
- AMC Theatres
- Regal Movie Theatres
- Galleria 6
- Chase Park Plaza
- Moolah Theatre
- Hi-Pointe Theatre
- St. Andrews Cinema
- Plaza Frontenac Cinema
- Tivoli Theatre