Yeah, it’s pretty good. It’s easy to see why it was a hit, and Amy Schumer is terrific in it. I guess I’m just tiring of the Judd Apatow brand lately. It’s getting a bit outdated, methinks. Also, it’s usually white, middlebrow feel-good. Maybe Mr. Apatow sensed this trend, and decided to cast NBA superstar LeBron James for that reason? Mr. James is superb, btw, and the movie needs more of him. Some more courage was necessary for “Trainwreck” to be really extraordinary, but Ms. Schumer’s screenplay doesn’t provide that. It contains a little bit of stereotypical homophobic characterizations too, but I won’t harp on that too much. My disappointment in “Trainwreck” is that I liked a lot of it…but still wished it was better.
Amy (Ms. Schumer, of course) is an early 30’s party girl, who sleeps around quite a bit. The die was cast for her at an early age, when her dad Gordon (a well-cast Colin Quinn) informs his young daughters that monogamy is “not realistic”. This on the occasion of his impending divorce from Amy’s mother. So, Amy reaches adulthood as a drinking, drugging, promiscuous magazine writer. Her father is eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Amy spends part of her time helping him adjust. She also has a semi-regular body-building boyfriend (wrestling champion, John Cena) who doesn’t seem to realize he’s gay. But it’s when she meets an off-beat and interesting sports doctor (an exceptional Bill Hader), that Amy’s life takes a more conventional and conservative turn. Cue black best friend role (Mr. James), temporary fall-from-grace, and redemptive “end cute”.
Despite it’s bawdy early-going, “Trainwreck” can’t resist the urge to smooth out its rough edges, and barrel towards mainstream formula. Yes, I realize that’s what made it multiplex acceptable, but there were encouraging moments when it was almost something more. There are a number of strong performances, including Tilda Swinton as a flamboyant editor, and Ezra Miller as an intended lover. Even 2015 Academy Award-winner Brie Larson is on board, as Amy’s younger sister, as well as the usual array of Apatow-brand cameos, from sports stars, film actors, and comedians. Amy Schumer shines here…she can be a movie star. And Bill Hader has a nice amount of poise and grace as a performer. Plus, as mentioned, LeBron James is very strong playing himself (is there anything he can’t do?). “Trainwreck” is nasty fun…until it goes soft and sentimental.