Amy Schumer is on a roll. Her TV series is a success, and now — thanks to director and comedy czar Judd Apatow, who also produced with Barry Mendel — she is poised to become a movie star too. As I say in my video review (click the link above), the evidence for that is on display in Trainwreck, a smart, funny, edgy and all-knowing romantic comedy about a young career woman whose love life is a bit of a commitment-free disaster. Schumer wrote the script and plays Amy (clever), a magazine writer who gets an assignment from the loony editor (a hilarious Tilda Swinton) of the sleazy publication she works for to profile a sports medicine doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader). But their professional encounter soon turns into a personal one as they also start dating. For Amy, this mellow and genuinely nice guy seems dangerous because he actually threatens the philosophy drilled into her by her father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy is a very bad thing for a relationship. Her belief in that is borne out by the succession of men we see pass through her life in the movie’s first half, including quasi-boyfriend Steven (a very funny Jon Cena). But this guy could be different, and that causes her to pretty much try and sabotage any chance they might have.
On the sidelines, offering romantic advice to his team doctor is LeBron James, playing himself and doing a surprisingly good job of it. Who knew LeBron was this funny? Amy also gets advice from her married sister (Brie Larson), who settled for less in the man department but doesn’t seem to mind. Although the emphasis is on the laughs, and there are lots of them, Schumer’s screenplay allows for plenty of poignant and very real moments as well, and she socks them home. This is a fully rounded performance that signals the arrival of an actress with genuine talent and natural instincts. Hader has not been better than he is here and proves he has navigated nicely from his SNL days into an emerging film star.
There are a lot of cameos strewn throughout the film including another NBA star, A’mare Stoudemire, along with Marv Albert, Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick, Tim Meadows, Leslie Jones and Vanessa Bayer. Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei have a funny movie-within-a-movie recurring bit as dogwalkers. And it is great to see 100-year-old Norman Lloyd still getting work and seemingly enjoying the few scenes he has here as a fellow resident in the retirement home where Amy’s father resides. Apatow continues to prove that when he gets behind the camera in films like This Is 40, Knocked Up and my favorite, The 40 Year Old Virgin, there is no one better at keeping the laughs flowing from characters that are highly relatable. Despite a stumble with 2009’s Funny People, none of his directorial efforts has been a trainwreck, and this Trainwreck might be his best yet. Ultimately, though, this is Schumer’s cinematic coming-out party, and she delivers, not only as a writer but a star. It is fun summertime, very R-rated stuff for adults who might not be into ant men or minions.
Do you plan to see Trainwreck? Let us know what you think. Universal releases the film on Friday.