After copping some flack over his last two directorial outings, Judd Apatow has teamed up with an exciting new female talent for his latest laugh fest, Trainwreck.
So, is it any good?While in previous Apatow productions the director has plundered aspects of his own life for ridicule; this time round we’re focused on someone else’s story. That someone is rising comedy starlet Amy Schumer, who essentially plays herself in a movie based on events from her life, from a script she wrote. Oh and in case that wasn’t enough, her character’s name is Amy.
Amy is a bit of a mess, since a young age her father has instilled in her the idea that monogamy isn’t realistic, a belief she continues to live by in her 30s, both in her promiscuous social life and her workplace activities as a writer for a trashy men’s magazine. She’s crude, self-absorbed, and unable to sustain a relationship beyond the most superficial level. All of this starts to change when she’s assigned the job of writing an article about successful sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) who, after getting past the fact Amy knows nothing about sports, slowly takes a liking to her straight shooting ways. What follows is an unorthodox courtship where Amy’s attempts to suppress her first real relationship are thwarted at every turn.
Having honed her craft on stage and television over many years, Amy Schumer has found the perfect big screen vehicle for her brand of un-PC humour. She’s the perfect fit for Apatow’s sensibilities, and just as Knocked Up catapulted Seth Rogen into the comedy stratosphere, Schumer carries the weight of the film with unabashed ease.
If Schumer is the film’s sweary main attraction, Bill Hader is the perfect counterpoint, proving to be quite the romantic leading man in a role usually reserved for a Ryan-Gosling type. What he lacks in sex appeal, he more than makes up for with pure charm, and the two leads share an undeniable chemistry when onscreen together. They are more than ably assisted by a strong supporting cast that includes Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, and a surprisingly hilarious LeBron James (yes, that LeBron James!).
I will say that the film doesn’t quite reach the levels of hilarity achieved by 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up. Whilst there are a handful of laugh out loud scenes, the majority of the gags are more chuckle raisers than belly busters. But what it lacks in the laughs department, it more than makes up for with genuine heart. There’s a real vulnerability to the characters, with certain moments hitting a raw nerve when you least expect it, particularly during the scenes involving Amy’s ailing father played by Colin Quinn. Most importantly, and unlike recent Apatow outings, Trainwreck doesn’t outstay its welcome. No self indulgent two and a half hour running time here. This is a lean, mean two hour date movie.
It may not be the comedic home run we’d hoped for, but this new potty-mouthed entry in the Apatow-verse is the perfect remedy for the mindless romantic fluff we often get from Hollywood, and cements Schumer’s reputation as one of the funniest women in show business. A train wreck it ain’t.