I am not familiar with Amy Schumer’s stand up act or her cable show, but I know who she is and kinda like her. She seems to not take herself too seriously and even tends to laugh at herself which I find rather endearing. I did not know what to make of her when I saw the ads for Trainwreck. She has written and stars as Amy, a commitment avoiding career girl who works for some magazine that could only function in a place like New York City. She has a boyfriend of sorts named Steven (surprisingly funny John Cena. Yes, THAT John Cena) who seems to have as much to say about the male figure as the female figure. Her boss is a domineeringly snide wench named Dianna (played by an almost unrecognizable Tilda Swinton) and her father, Gordon (Colin Quinn) is spirit crushed man who now is in an assisted living facility, thanks to Amy and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson hot off of the Oscar circuit for her performance in Room). They all have a pretty good life , even their father, who seems at home no matter where he is.
When Amy is assigned to do a story about sports medicine, she is assigned to cover a doctor to the athletes, name Aaron. The two hit it off and become somewhat of a couple. The rest of the film travels some familiar ground, but I was interested in seeing where Trainwreck went. Overall, this is an infectiously sweet film that is well written by Schumer who has an eye and ear for dialogue and how people interact. It is hard to gauge how much of the real Amy is in the character Amy, but regardless, she is a flawed person (as we all are). But she knows it and tries hard to change, but it is a struggle. Aaron (wonderfully played by Bill Hader) is a patient and decent fellow and is truly smitten with Amy. Their relationship seemed real and I cared about what happened to them, thanks not only to Schumer’s clever and witty script but Judd Apatow’s sure handed direction. He, too has a great feel for people and their interaction together. Having directed some excellent films with the same material like The 40 Year Old Version, Knocked Up and This Is 40, he knows what he is doing.
The cast is great and everyone seems to know how far to push the material. Although, a couple of jokes do fall flat, what Trainwreck lacks in jokes, more than makes up for it with the sweeter side of the story with LeBron James (yes, THAT Lebron James) turning in a surprisingly strong performance as Aaron’s friend and confidant. There are some standard plot devices that come into play for the final act of the film, so you do see where the film is headed and it’s nothing we have not seen before. But I did not care. I was so interested in the characters and cared what happened to them. Amy Schumer is a strong actress and is the rock of this film. She is able to make you laugh but when it is required that she show emotion and depth she pulls it off extremely well. I fell in love with her character the way Aaron does. Amy Schumer shows she has range and depth, in spades. The rest of the cast is effective, as well. Brie Larson is sweet as Amy’s sister and their relationship is also convincingly written. Schumer and Bill Hader have great chemistry and convince you they love each other so when they fight, you believe that, too.
Trainwreck may not be anything original but the interesting characters, strong script and sure handed direction make this film a witty, whimsical treat that is funny and observant about human behavior. But it is also deftly poignant, sad, but charming. There is an unrated version, which I have yet to see, but either version will be a treat. This is a great date night movie.
Trainwreck-*** 3/4 out of 5
Trainwreck- Rated R for language, nudity and adult situations
Trainwreck- Run Time is 125 minutes
Trainwreck is now available on DVD, On Demand and pay subscription channels