Trainwreck

Posted by Joel Copling on July 8, 2015


It might be too long at just more than two hours, but "Trainwreck" makes up for it with amusement, caustic honesty, and comedy, courtesy of its brightly talented center of gravity, that more appropriately feels like a confessional. There are so many scenes of our heroine protagonist, named Amy and played by Amy Schumer (who also wrote the screenplay), tackling female sexual politics such as a failed attempt to use to a condom or etiquette in the sack that the possibility of simply being unsympathetic always seems to be right on the edge of becoming a reality. Thank goodness for the actress herself, then, as Schumer evades all routes that might take her character in alienating directions.

For Amy and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) were raised by their father Gordon (Colin Quinn) to believe that monogamy isn't realistic (that phrase becoming a sort of mantra that he has them repeat back to him in the amusing flashback that is our opening sequence), and this has forked in different directions for each of the girls. Amy has embraced it, choosing a speed-dating version of a love life that means she must bed other men while lying to Steven (a very funny John Cena), the hunky, hulky former NFL player with whom she is currently in sort of a solid relationship (One amusing scene has them seeing a corny romantic comedy about dogs starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei as the unexpected couple, which sort of mirrors these two's unlikely coupling).

Kim has steered away from her father's twisted marital politics--which, after all, he formed from the affair he was having at the time that ended his marriage--and settled down with Tom (Mike Birbiglia), who has another kid by a previous marriage. When Kim and Tom find out that the former is pregnant with their first child together, it confounds Amy, who has now developed an allergy to such commitment. The only commitment she currently has is to dear, old dad, who is now slowly developing Alzheimer's and wasting away (Quinn is quite touching as Gordon, whose arc plays out exactly as one likely expects, and the impact is a pretty considerable one).

That's when she meets Aaron (Bill Hader), a sports physician whom she is supposed to interview for her news outlet. After they do the deed (at his place, which is usually against her established personal rules), however, he shows interest in her that she's never encountered before, and the two hit it off, she getting advice from Kim and her best friend at the office Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) and he from world-renowned sports superstar LeBron James (who appears as himself and whose subplot here is a bit extraneous, to be honest). She knows nothing about sports (She doesn't even recognize James for who he is), and he has a particular liking for a Billy Joel tune. They're a cute couple, basically, worth investing in.

The movie works, too, despite the shaggy nature of a few subplots, James' chief among them, and the usual montages that are such a creative nonentity of the romantic comedy genre now that it's admittedly difficult to hold a grudge against them anymore. Director Judd Apatow has control over other, more important elements, too, such as a knack for physical comedy that Schumer, as both actor and writer, also distinctly understands. The supporting cast is a fun one (other than the ones already mentioned, an unrecognizably modern Tilda Swinton has a fun role as the head of the outlet, who offers the film's biggest laugh at the while Ezra Miller is fearless as a new intern with a strange sexual obsession), gracing "Trainwreck" with as much absurdity as it offers sometimes cruel realities.

Film Information


Amy Schumer (Amy), Bill Hader (Aaron), Brie Larson (Kim), Colin Quinn (Gordon), John Cena (Steven), Tilda Swinton (Dianna), Vanessa Bayer (Nikki), Mike Birbiglia (Tom), Ezra Miller (Donald), LeBron James (Himself).

Directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer.

Rated R (sexual content, nudity, language, drug use).

125 minutes.

Released on July 17, 2015.