Trainwreck: Film Review
Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Lebron James
Director: Judd Apatow
Current It comedian Amy Schumer makes the leap to the big screen in Trainwreck, the latest dramedy to get the treatment from Judd Apatow, which began with 2009's Funny People and continued with This Is 40.
In this fairly autobiographical piece, Schumer plays Amy, a commitment-phobe serial one-night-stander and magazine contributor whose life's been shaped by her father's insistence that monogamy is not normal. When she ends up putting him in a home because his MS has got too bad, she finds her life upended - partially due to that and also due to the fact she meets sports Dr Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) who she ends up having feelings for.
In many ways, Trainwreck is a traditional rom-com that's bathed in an acerbic light thanks to the current pop culture icon that is Amy Schumer.
Complete with a lot of female identifiable comedy and a spunk that's all-encompassing, Schumer makes a relatively good fist of this - both as a writer and as an actor.
The eulogy she delivers for her father is both powerful and painfully truthful, a fact that Schumer's brand of occasionally foul-mouthed comedy is particularly fond of embracing. But there's also a good deal of honesty and heart in the story too; the bond between her and the relatively straight Hader feels realistic, as does the relationship with her sister (played by Short Term 12's Brie Larson) and the one with her father.
And the broad brush strokes of reality (albeit exaggerated at times) and self-effacing touches that she covers herself in means that a large chunk of the female audience will identify with this depiction of a woman on Hollywood's canvas - there's a confidence to Schumer that's infectious and that's laugh-out-loud contagious, despite the occasional depths of vulgarity that she mines.
While the plethora of sports faces will mean that this resonates more with US audiences, there's a vicarious thrill to seeing LeBron James doing the conventionally / unconventional as a version of himself who loves Downton Abbey and delivering some deadpan lines; equally a barely recognisable Tilda Swinton as a Catherine Tate version of a magazine editor has a blast - and John Cena, Marisa Tomei, Matthew Broderick and Daniel Radcliffe all prove game too.
It's fair to say that the usual Apatow formula in these films is strictly adhered to and means there are a lot of scenes where there's close to free-form babbling and ad-libbing that occasionally misses the point and there's certainly a feeling that an expeditious edit could have trimmed some of the bloat from the ragged edges of Trainwreck.
However, there's no denying that Trainwreck is squarely Amy Schumer's vehicle (certainly the closing sequence makes the price of admission worth it alone), a take on an old-fashioned film that may surprise and occasionally apall some in equal measure.