Judd Apatow has made a name for himself when it comes to comedy films. With The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up under his belt he has developed an original kind of comedy film which uses the same bank of comedy actors time after time and fulfills its promise of bringing some gut busting laughs. Trainwreck is a bit of a step away from his usual cast, with the exception of Bill Hader who played a cop in the Apatow classic Superbad, and sees Amy Schumer in the lead role as Amy, who’s struggles through men, work and family problems with a little help from a copious amount of alcohol and weed.
Amy Schumer’s character Amy is clearly based on herself and this over-exaggerated version of herself that we are used to seeing in her show Inside Amy Schumer where her promiscuity and crass language portray her as a no nonsense, self destructing protagonist with a misinformed view of herself and the world around her. We don’t venture too far from what is familiar of Amy Schumer as Amy lives in New York and works for a magazine company. She is assigned to interview a very successful sports doctor, Aaron Conners (Hader), who is good pals with LeBron James, and after spending quite a lot of time with him she starts to fall and decides that she needs to clean her life up a bit in order to make anything work with him. The premise of the film is simple enough and the ensemble cast is absolutely huge, consisting of Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller and John Cena to name a few. While it is rich in comedy actors it fails to deliver the memorable one liners and hilarious punches that we have come to know and love from Apatow films and Schumer’s stand up and instead falls a little flat and the finale was really quite awful too.
The addition of LeBron James felt like a cry for higher ratings and even though he was actually quite funny, his character didn’t really contribute anything apart from giving Aaron Conners something to do and allowing for a basketball theme to run through the whole film. I am always quite suspicious of films that bring in a huge range of actors because I worry that its because the film isn’t actually that good and they need really good names to sell the film. Trainwreck comes across this way and had some of the big names been replaced by unknown actors it wouldn’t have made much difference. The big names are there for the sake of it. That said, Tilda Swinton was amazing as Amy’s boss and she never fails to really inject something unique and original into the roles that she plays, regardless of how long she is in the film for she is always one of the most memorable characters in it and Trainwreck is no exception to that.
The character of Amy is a difficult one to get on board with, she is very easy to laugh at and watch making loads of mistakes, but she is quite unrelateable unless you are also the kind of person who sleeps with everyone and anyone, smokes loads of weed, drinks load of booze and continues to make horrendous mistakes all the way into her thirties. You really want her to get herself together and not mess up her relationship with Dr Conners because he starts falling for her too and he is a successful and lovely man, but you know that she will mess it up which is what leads to a very disappointing final scene. Cringe. I also found Bill Hader a really odd casting choice as Amy’s love interest as that isn’t exactly the kind of role we are used to seeing him play. He isn’t exactly the kind of man who you would normally swoon over in a romantic comedy but he is much more of an accessible character, as is Amy, and both are more realistic representations of ‘normal’ people. With the exception of This Is 40, Apatow has always had interesting casting choices and has often opted for choosing more of an every-man over a polished and pristine Hollywood doll.
Trainwreck is, at times, absolutely hilarious and all the characters are so well put together and bounce off each other really well that its an easy and comfortable watch. The story diverts from the rigmarole of alcohol fueled, sexual misadventures, which can get a little tiring at times, to some interesting family scenarios. Brie Larson, who plays Amy’s sister, provides an interesting dynamic as she is literally the opposite to Amy in almost every single way.
As with all Apatow films, its about half an hour too long and as I have said before, the ending could have been much, much better but its a riot throughout and if you love Amy Schumer and her work so far then you won’t be disappointed. Trainwreck premieres on HBO at 8pm on Saturday, April 02. Take a look at the trailer below!