You may not have heard of Trainwreck actress and writer Amy Schumer before. That is unless you are a fan of her US sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. But you’re likely to become very familiar with her in the near future. Bordering on intimate if you see Trainwreck. Because while you may only just be becoming aware of Schumer, she’s a star and a star that is about to go supernova. Trainwreck director Judd Apatow knows a thing or two about unearthing comedic talent, just ask the likes of Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Lena Duham and, frankly, the list goes on. So much faith does Apatow have in Schumer that this is the first film he’s directed in quite some time that has little to no personal connection to his own life.
When Amy and her younger sister were young their father Gordon (Colin Quinn) revealed to them that “Monogamy is unrealistic” as he delicately explained to them why he was divorcing their mother. 23 years later and Amy (now played by Schumer) has taken this advice on board and lives a life of heavy boozing and endless partners. Her sister Kim (Brie Larson) meanwhile has gone the other direction and is happily married. But when Amy is assigned to interview world-famous sports surgeon Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) she finds herself embarking on a relationship that is far removed from her comfort zone.
It’s unlikely you’ll find many other films this year that are going to make you laugh out loud as much as Trainwreck. Schumer’s brand of brilliant observational, occasionally slapstick and always infectious comedy is a delight. Her writing is of course in no small way key to this but more than anything it is Schumer’s beaming and heart-warmingly honest delivery that sells it. It’s impossible not to like her, even when she’s making mistakes. Hader and Larson should be afforded special credit for playing the relative straight characters to Schumer’s more outrageous nature. Meanwhile Tilda Swinton is almost unrecognisable as Schumer’s boss and LeBron James proves that playing himself has seemingly endless comedic value.
At times the film does take a turn to the serious side and at over two hours long these moments do slightly drag. That being said it ties the more sketch like approach to much of the film into something that works as a narrative, albeit a clichéd and predictable one. Apatow knows well enough to let Schumer’s talents do most of the heavy lifting for him. The comedy is natural, avoiding, for the most part, the standard Apatow brand of dick and fart jokes. Instead this is a case of Schumer playing the stereotypical “guy” to Hader’s more needy role. It’s a smart and brilliantly subversive girl power film that only slightly loses its way towards the climax. But denying Schumer the chance to join the New York Knicks cheerleading squad is a moment of such hilarity it is recommended you relieve your bladder long before it happens.
The plot might be obvious romantic comedy thoroughfare but Schumer is such a magnetic presence it’s hard to be anything other than entertained by this Trainwreck.