Amy Schumer has made the jump to the big screen in a big way with “Trainwreck.” The comedian whose Comedy Central show has gathered a well-deserved fan base couldn’t have made a better choice than to team up with Judd Apatow to bring her self-deprecating and shameless sense of humor to a movie genre in great need of it.
In “Trainwreck,” there’s a fine if not blurry line between conventional romantic comedy and flipping rom-com clichés on their head. Schumer plays Amy, a 30-something staff writer for a superficial men’s magazine who overindulges in pot, booze and one-night stands, in large part because she internalized the advice her father (Colin Quinn) gave her and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) when they were kids: “monogamy is not realistic.”
Amy’s personal rules about not letting men sleep over are soon tested when a work assignment has her interviewing wildly successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who is best pals with LeBron James and loves sports, which Amy detests. After seducing him, she soon finds herself in an
uncomfortable, exclusive situation.
Hader and Schumer seem like an unlikely pair, but Hader’s improvisational brilliance and Schumer’s clever writing work well together, and they also have terrific repartee with the supporting cast, from LeBron James to the nearly unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as Amy’s editor. These talents (yes, even James, but especially Schumer) pull of some of the script’s really corny moment by infusing a little extra honesty and self-awareness into their performances.
Then there’s the Apatow factor. True to the types of films he has made since his career took off with “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” there is a strong dramatic element in certain aspects of the film, namely Amy’s relationship with her father and the way she treats her happily married sister. Schumer colors these moments with some somewhat dark humor, but both she and Apatow are not interested in just fluff, which is interesting considering how cookie-cutter much of the plot of “Trainwreck” is.
Romantic comedy fans will feel at ease in this story: wild woman figures out a way to settle down with guy, they hit a major roadblock and things get bad for awhile and then she must decide if she’s really committed to him and if they can live happily ever after. The biggest difference, however is the gender roles are reversed. Normally it’s the out-of-control guy who finds “the one” and nearly loses her. So in one sense, Schumer has written a film that flies against Hollywood gender roles, but on the other, she hasn’t at all.
So, somehow, Schumer and Apatow have crafted a classic date movie yet one that’s fresh and a little edgy. More so the former than the latter, but most romantic comedies don’t ever find an edge. There’s something in “Trainwreck” for everyone, whether you’re a guy into sports or not (especially if you are into sports though) or whether you’re a woman who loves chick-flicks or a hardcore feminist. Somehow, the film exists as this acceptable contradiction. Schumer might not be able to pull that off time and time again, but she certainly has a promising career on the big screen.
Directed by Judd Apatow
Written by Amy Schumer
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, LeBron James, Brie Larson