TRAINWRECK (USA/16/125mins)
Directed by Judd Apatow. Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton Brie Larson, LeBron James, Ezra Miller.
THE PLOT: Amy (Amy Schumer) is a woman in her 30s with a successful career as a magazine writer. Although her professional life may be on point, her personal life is less so, with her having a string of one night stands – without the knowledge of her boyfriend – and her father being moved to a care home. When Amy meets the charming and sweet Aaron (Bill Hader), and the two start dating, she has to overcome her fear of commitment, and fast.
THE VERDICT: Although American audiences have been aware of the brilliant Amy Schumer for some time, at this side of the world, her success and arrival into the spotlight feels sudden, and delightfully welcome. Not only is Schumer wonderfully funny, but with her script for TRAINWRECK, she proves that she is a talent to keep an eye on.
Schumer plays a character who audiences who know her TV show – ‘Inside Amy Schumer’ – will find slightly familiar. Self assured yet insecure, successful professionally but a mess personally, Schumer makes the character feel like a woman we either are, or we know, and her trademark frankness is on full display here. Bill Hader is sweet and charming – yes ever so slightly misogynistic – as Aaron Connor, and his scenes with LeBron James are hilarious and light. Brie Larson is a great foil for Schumer; her character Kim has her life together in a way that feels alien to Amy and each throw the other into stark relief. Tilda Swinton is perhaps the most surprising in the film; almost unrecognisable under long blonde hair and false tan, Swinton is brash, loud and crass, and utterly brilliant in her laugh out loud turn as Amy’s editor Dianna. The rest of the cast is made up of Ezra Miller, Dave Atell, Inside Amy Schumer regulars Jon Glaser and Bridget Everett. The film also features cameos from Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, Matthew Broderick and several sports stars.
Schumer’s screenplay feels honest in its comedy, and there are several heartfelt emotional scenes that bring balance and a sense of reality to the film. There are some brilliant lines throughout, Swinton’s line ‘I’m sick of your ginger nonsense’ is a particular standout, but there is plenty to laugh at in this precisely observed and timed film. As well as this, the storyline concerning Kim and Amy’s father is not only inspired by Schumer’s real life, but it is carefully played, adding a layer of depth to each of the characters. The final resolution, however, feels slightly formulaic – even though it is still damn funny – and there is the feeling that Amy has to change everything about herself to make a relationship work, although it could be argued that it was implied throughout the film that this was a choice that the character wanted to make.
Director Judd Apatow somehow manages to make the film with a light touch, with little of the tropes and obvious humour that we have come to expect from him. As always though, the film is far too long, with the final act not only dragging its heels, but feeling slightly disconnected from the rest of the film.
In all, TRAINWRECK is a precisely observed comedy with well-placed moments of honest and subtle drama. Schumer and Hader are great together, with Schumer easily carrying the film on her smart and witty shoulders. Swinton is a comedic revelation and, although the film ends up in a familiar place, the journey there is a funny, sweet and worthwhile one.
Review by Brogen Hayes

Review by Brogen Hayes
4.0Funny, sweet & worthwhile
  • filmbuff2011

    Like Paul Feig, Judd Apatow has an innate understanding of women and how male/female relationships work – or don’t work. His latest film could be seen as a vehicle to launch the talents of comedian Amy Schumer. This reviewer admits to having no awareness whatsoever of Schumer before seeing this film. But in a way, that’s a good thing – because a star is born. Amy (Schumer) is a free-wheeling thirtysomething gal who lives in New York, has a ‘sick’ apartment and works at a men’s magazine for the tyrannical Dianna (Tilda Swinton). She’s quite promiscuous and follows her father Gordon’s (Colin Quinn) childhood advice that monogamy isn’t realistic. Her sister Kim (Brie Larson) is settled, but Amy won’t settle for that. She just does what she wants, whatever the consequences. That is, until Dianna assigns her the task of writing a piece on genius sports physician Aaron (Bill Hader). She reluctantly takes it on, given that she has little interest in sports. But through her interactions with Aaron, she discovers a kindred soul who she can connect with on more than just a physical level. Slowly, but surely, Amy comes round to the previously unthinkable idea of commitment… Trainwreck initially seems like a standard run-of-the-mill romcom, with some silly stuff with John Cena’s lunkhead date early on. But then something quite special happens once Hader arrives and the film gradually rises above its mediocre contemporaries. The dialogue between Schumer and Hader sparks off like a mine cart on the loose and the chemistry between them is palpable. That’s thanks in no small part to Schumer’s deliciously witty script. Like Diablo Cody, she wants her characters to jump off the page and seem that bit more realistic and less like rote movie characters. Amy (the character) is quite endearing, even with all her flaws, insecurities and reckless behaviour. Like Bridget Jones, she’s a messy but lovable character who appeals to both men and women. Schumer is delightful and certainly has a future ahead of her onscreen. Apatow also surrounds her with a great supporting cast, including basketball player LeBron James and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Matthew Broderick. It’s slightly overlong (a common problem with Apatow’s films), but that’s a relatively small complaint in what is a very enjoyable, warm and feel-good romcom. Go see. ****

  • emerb

    Judd Apatow has an outstanding track record with both bromantic (“Knocked Up”, “40 Year Old Virgin”) and female-foccussed comedies (“Bridesmaids”). With the enjoyable romantic comedy, “Trainwreck”, he has wisely taken on Amy Schumer as a collaborator and it has worked very well. “Trainwreck” is a smart and heartfelt summer comedy and the likeable influence of Schumer can be felt
    clearly through every part of the movie. Schumer is a relative newcomer whose career to date has been mostly in television but if, like me, you’re somewhat familiar with her comedy then you know just how funny and brilliant she is. She was hilarious in a recent Graham Norton interview and, for me, she stole that show. Her smart script reveals the full range of her comedic talents and this continues with her endearing, warm lead performance. She has the ability to be daring and real, holds nothing back and tells the complete truth about what it’s like to be a funny, single and sexual in a modern world where society’s expectations of women is skewered. In “Trainwreck,” she’s made the big move from stand-up to leading lady and the gem of a role she has here fits her perfectly. Schumer is more than credible as she has written an extreme version of herself who hasn’t quite figured out who she is yet. The film takes a very funny but honest look at what it feels like to reach a point in your life where you aren’t sure what’s around the next corner.

    Amy works for a crude men’s magazine and she is happy there because it affords her the lifestyle that she likes – hard drinking and sexual freedom. She refuses to settle down, she can sleep with whoever she wants, she has a nice apartment, and she has no interest whatsoever in relationships and sees no reason to change. She engages in a string of random hook-ups that don’t last but it just doesn’t bother her. Amy is the daughter of a cantankerous, alcoholic dad (Colm Quinn) who was never there for his girls and who’s now suffering from
    the advanced stages of MS. He taught them that there is no such thing as monogamy but while her sister Kim (Brie Larson) outgrew that lesson and settled down with a husband and stepson, Amy took it to heart and leads the sort of love life where she is disturbed to find herself spending more than one evening with the same man. When Amy is assigned to write a profile on a sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader), the sports-averse Amy is wary and she doesn’t want to do it. Almost immediately, though, there is real chemistry between them. Before long, he and Amy are having dinner, then drinks, then sharing a taxi and when they sleep together, in her world, that’s the end of things. She is shocked when Aaron calls and wants to see her again, and they fall into an actual relationship. This is the point where things start to get complicated. The attraction both terrifies and excites Amy who deliberates over her desire to see Aaron again. As their intimacy increases, she finds herself forced to re-examine
    her lifestyle. Meanwhile, Aaron gets support form a best pal who’s delighted he has finally met somebody.

    Schumer has never had a leading film role but “Trainwreck” proves her to be a very strong performer and well up to the job. She is a superb act with a remarkable eye and ear for the way people act, behave and interact. She is engaging and confident, perfectly capturing her layered and complicated character – a young woman who has come to depend on sex at times of unhappiness. Together with Hader, they both give stellar performances. They are terrifically appealing together and have a fantastic chemistry. It helps that they are surrounded by a very impressive ensemble cast. I loved the choice of Brie Larson as Amy’s sister as she is very strong here – I’ve yet to see her give a poor performance. Hader keeps getting better and reveals more of his talent here. He demonstrates his flexibility as an actor, effortlessly able to mix humour and drama. He manages to ground Aaron and make him feel very real while also continually scoring a string of successful jokes. LeBron James has a supporting role as Aaron’s chatty confidante who offers advice and a shoulder to cry on.
    The pairing is superb, he is hilarious in the movie, and the entire film is filled with his scene-stealers. John Cena also has a very funny role as Amy’s semi-occasional kind-of boyfriend. Tilda Swinton is barely recognizable but wholly effective as the soul-less magazine editor where Amy works. She really is a hoot and seems to relish playing the morally horrible boss. Also worth noting that centenarian film and television legend Norman Lloyd is cast as a fellow resident of Quinn’s elder care home and he steals a few scenes too.

    “Trainwreck” is one of the most consistently funny and charming movies I’ve seen this year. I found myself laughing out loud on many occasions and there are numerous witty asides and hilarious jokes in comparison to most comedies. In some ways, it follows the general model of the modern romantic comedy but much better than many of its peers, there are layers of feeling and emotion beneath all the lighthearted humour. Even if you’re pretty sure you know where it’s is going, it’s the raw openness and honesty that makes this film memorable. It delicately balances a degree of raunchiness with wise and witty insights into the
    ups and downs of modern adult relationships. It’s also quite refreshing to see a woman write a role for herself that is so firmly rooted in reality. I think Schumer’s growing fanbase, Apatow’s strong reputation and word of mouth are likely to lead to solid box office figures. Here’s hoping that we see more from Schumer in the future, and that “Trainwreck” leads her to an even wider fan base.

  • Randy

    While this comedy does settle pretty well into the rom-com genre it features a lot of crass and NSFW jokes and Schumer is a joy to watch, equally funny and pleasant. The title is misleading though, as she’s not a mess by any means…Don’t pass this one if you’re a fan of Tilda Swinton and her turn in We Need to Talk About Kevin as she reunites with Ezra Miller for this one.