Amy (Amy Schumer) is a happy mess in Trainwreck. By day she writes articles for a publication which specializes in pieces on ugly celebrity babies, while Amy’s nights feature lots of men and even more booze. The living it up life was bestowed upon Amy by her father Gordon (Aidan Quinn), a philandering father who taught his two daughters about the silly, unrealistic nature of monogamy. Even if life isn’t exactly perfect, Amy is content.
Then her life throws the curveball it always does. Amy is assigned to do an article on Aaron (Bill Hader), a top-notch doctors who specializes in working with athletes. Bored, or rather appalled, by sports, Amy nonetheless hits it off with Aaron. He’s sweet in the way she’s vulgar, and she’s direct in the way he’s slow to move. Romance blooms and Amy finds herself struggling with this new thing called love, with all of the ups and downs it brings.
There’s a lot more going on in Trainwreck, which is a good and bad thing. Still, this latest film by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Funny People) entertains more than it misses. Usually the primary in his scripts, here Apatow heeds the writing reins to Schumer. In her first major leading part, Schumer does well, translating the blunt, knowing obscene shtick she has used on television to the big-screen well. The character of Amy is nicely unforgiving. Trainwreck isn’t afraid to show Amy at her worst; trying to get out of relationship discussions due to being high or giving consistent, sharp digs to family. The bond between Amy and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) gives multiple dividends, providing fine dramatics via their differing relationship to dear old dad, in addition to quality laughs stemming from Kim’s comfortable hominess.
Schumer is also good with Hader, an actor who at this point is probably underrated. Hader is known to bring it for bold, over-the-top characters. His work in quieter roles is equally excellent. Unlike many comedians that merely mute their presences in dramas, Hader exudes a warmth and innate kindness that still features a pulse. His Aaron isn’t a dip that can’t have fun, but a good guy that’s just had some issues with dating. As such, when there’s a scene, odd as it sounds, of Hader shooting hoops with LeBron James, it doesn’t focus on a dork coming out of his shell. It’s just two friends hanging, even if one is wonderfully demolishing the other in the game at hand.
Trainwreck does suffer from standard Apatow issues, even if he’s only behind the camera. The two hours feels significantly bloated, lagging as certain gags feel superfluous. Every scene appears to get a button, padding things out more. The final act is troublesome, as the shagginess of the tone clashes take hold, particularly in a moment between Amy and an intern played by Ezra Miller. The requisite relationship troubles feel like barriers the story needs rather than something organic. Equally, the cameos become irksome, as more and more athletes and celebrities pop in as if their mere appearance is worthy of an extra five minutes.
The whole is peculiar, feeling a tad weaker than the sum of its parts. I laughed, I was moved. I also felt the film trying to make me do those things at times where little or nothing was produced.