Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
‘Trainwreck’ is a strong romantic comedy from director Judd Apatow and screenwriter/lead actress Amy Schumer, loosely based on Schumer’s own experiences and told from a female perspective. It’s refreshing to see a film with a progressive approach to female sexuality and ‘Trainwreck’ uses this as a basis to tell its story about a woman afraid of commitment. Amy Schumer has been making waves on the US comedy scene for a few years now, with her hit sketch show ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ gaining critical acclaim and a cult following. ‘Trainwreck’ is her introduction to the mainstream.
The loose story of the film focuses on Amy (Schumer), a 30 year old writer for a crude men’s magazine who spends most of her spare time acting irresponsibly, regularly getting drunk and stoned and having multiple one night stands (despite having a partner (John Cena)). When she’s assigned a piece of work to write an article on a sports doctor, Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she ends up bonding with him over dinner and starts to feel differently about him than she does about other men. Alongside this, the film has several subplots focusing on Amy’s father, who cheated on their mother multiple times and is now in a nursing home, and her relationship with her more strait-laced sister. Their differing attitudes to their father is one of the film’s interesting sidenotes in terms of looking at how people can have widely varying perspectives on the same incidents, and how those perspectives can inform your life choices.
In terms of the performances, Schumer shines in the lead role with a performance that is simultaneously hilarious and heartfelt, whilst Bill Hader moves away from his comedic SNL persona and shows his range as the most grounded guy in the room. Who knew LeBron James had such great comic timing? The basketball star is excellent fun and the perfect foil for Hader’s sports doctor, whilst there are also good turns from the likes of Brie Larsen, Colin Quinn and John Cena. Tilda Swinton undergoes a remarkable change in her physical appearance for her role as Amy’s shark of a magazine editor, but her character is a little too irritating and obnoxious to feel like anything more than a caricature. The comedy can get a little broad at times, and her father (Colin Quinn) could have done with being toned down a little, but ‘Trainwreck’ overcomes the roughness around the edges with a good deal of sweetness and heart and despite a long running time, the narrative is strong enough to engage even when it’s not laugh out loud funny.
Judd Apatow’s recent comedies have strived for the perfect mix between comedy and seriousness without ever reaching it, but with the addition of Amy Schumer, ‘Trainwreck’ manages to find it.
Directed By: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, Brie Larsen, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Mike Birbliglia, Jon Glaser, Ezra Miller and Randall Park