“Trainwreck” Movie Review


     The tagline for comedienne Amy Schumer’s new film “Trainwreck” tells perspective viewers “We all know one”, which refers to the title character and her off beat lifestyle that includes copious amounts of sex, alcohol, nightclubs, and socializing at her trendy job working for a New York City men’s magazine.  Interestingly enough, Schumer who both stars in the film and wrote the screenplay has created an abundance of characters that carry with them a certain authenticity not normally seen in this kind of story.  In reality, you may know many people that will remind you of several of the characters, as the film explores numerous plot lines which effectively give the actors plenty of scenes to shine.  “Trainwreck” is also director Judd Apatow’s (“40 Year Old Virgin”, “Knocked Up”) fifth film and it might be his most polished, especially with the human elements of the story.  The resulting collaboration of Schumer’s spot on raunchy dialogue and Apatow’s mastery of comedic timing is, perhaps, the most consistently funny film of 2015 thus far.

     Our introduction to Schumer’s character, Amy, gives us an immediate idea as to how she lives day by day, with men walking in and out of a proverbial turnstile within her apartment and the alcohol flowing like water out of a faucet.  She and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), were told at a young age by their soon to be divorced father that monogamy is not real and apparently Amy has taken this to heart.  The early scenes in the film feature one of those here now, gone tomorrow boyfriends played to surprisingly comedic effect by WWE star John Cena.  As is the case with most raunchy comedy sex scenes, they are always played for laughs and normally involve some kind of quick framed site gag (Think the apple pie scene in “American Pie”.).  What sets “Trainwreck” apart from those pictures is its ability to explore the dialogue and the mannerisms typically involved while doing the deed and Cena nails this in his scenes with Schumer, displaying a hilarious delivery of his lines in ways we are not accustomed to hearing from a presence like his.

     In addition to the subplots involving Amy and her love life, the story explores the dynamic between Amy and Kim and the fact she is married to a very regular guy who arrived in the relationship already having a child.  This comes into play when both Amy and Kim are forced to deal with their father, Gordon (Colin Quinn), who suffers from MS and lives in an assisted living home.  Apparently, Gordon doesn’t recognize step children when it comes to identifying them as actual grandchildren, an issue that often leaves them on non speaking terms.  There are many more subplots like this throughout the film, which seem to function in a way that grounds the story into reality, even though these colorful personalities are continually populating every scene.

     Amy’s workplace is a hoot to watch as well, especially when we get a peek into the group’s creative process in which they pitch ideas for articles to their editor.  A virtually unrecognizable Tilda Swinton plays Amy’s editor, Dianna, who takes a no nonsense approach to leadership and doesn’t seem to care who in the group she offends when giving her opinion and direction on any given idea.  Swinton alone is a brilliantly hilarious and original character, but contributions from Jon Glaser as Schultz and Randall Park as Bryson also lend to the consistent laughs manufactured from the group’s banter.  Ultimately; however, the film functions primarily as a vehicle for females and their brand of antics.  Amy is always flanked at work by Nikki, played by SNL vet Vanessa Bayer, and along with Dianna the trio without a doubt dominates the “S’Nuff” magazine workplace as they are clearly at the top of the pecking order.

     The primary story centers on an assignment given to Amy in which she is to interview a famous sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) for a cover story.  This is where her character doesn’t exactly endear herself to me, as their initial contact has her admitting that not only does she not watch or follow sports, she loathes those that do.  It just so happens that one of Connor’s most famous patients is Lebron James, which allows for the player himself to try his hand at acting in a mainstream film.  And you know what?  He’s actually pretty good and remains convincing in his half dozen or so scenes throughout the film.  One of which is a hilarious game of one on one with Aaron as the two discuss the prospects of dating Amy.  Of course that’s exactly where the story goes, as Aaron and Amy hit it off, but run into the early relationship pitfalls similar to what Ben Affleck’s character in “Chasing Amy” experienced.  That being the number of guys Amy has been with.

     Overall, Schumer’s script is nothing short of outstanding.  Sure, there are a number of misses from a comedy standpoint, but the chemistry between the two leads helps the audience get through anything that may not produce the filmmaker’s desired effect.  For his part, Hader moves through each scene with that quiet vulnerability a successful man who isn’t experienced with women or relationships would have when dating someone like Amy whose confidence seems to be through the roof.  You can never quite nail what it is that attracts the two of them together, but there is something there as Amy seems intent on making the necessary lifestyle changes in order to settle down.  As the characters move through their respective paths, the conversations and the situations they find themselves in show that the combination of Schumer and Apatow is one powerful comedic punch. GRADE: B+