Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader
Release Date: 14th August 2015 (UK)
There’s an irony that the two biggest champions for women in comedy this past decade have been men in the form of Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) and Judd Apatow (Everything Else). Apatow has produced many comedies though carefully handpicked his directorial duties, so his influence can be vastly understated by the average cinemagoer. Trainwreck should be a stark reminder of just how brilliant Apatow is at bringing comedy to life.
The film is a vehicle for rising star Amy Schumer who plays protagonist Amy Townsend. Very much her father’s daughter, she is raised with a liberal sexual attitude and total ambivalence to commitment, if not utter disdain for the packaged ideals of the ‘American Dream’. However, lo and behold, her latest assignment from S’nuff magazine puts her on a collision course with level-headed suburban wet dream sports doctor Bill Hader. A one night stand triggers the start of a relationship that is theoretically ridiculous but strangely endearing. It’s about as Romeo and Juliette as Apatow gets.
Written by Schumer, Trainwreck is a platform for her to move very rapidly from TV sketch show and stand-up comedienne to Hollywood comedy star, and she mostly delivers, but it did feel like a big supporting role would have been a nice segue for her. That said, considering her and Hader have little to no experience of leading a comedy movie, they really pulled it off.
The story was a slow burner, but like any good comedy the jokes stem organically from the plot and the characters, and not the other way around. This was evident throughout, putting the budding love story between Amy and Aaron front and center. Consequently even the smallest quips and mannerisms were imbued with much more than the desperation for a cheap chuckle, which makes the whole thing much more satisfying than, say, anything with Kevin Hart.
The humour mainly stems from sex, but anyone who has seen even the briefest segment of Schumer’s stand-up will hardly be surprised by this. Those who haven’t may be a tad taken aback by how shamelessly descriptive it is, and there is one particular scene compellingly awkward, and on a par with the c**t moment in Bridesmaids for sheer unexpectedness. Let’s just say it’s not something they cover in sex ed.
On the whole it’s not perfect, and it didn’t feel as brilliant as Superbad, but maybe that’s the burden of heightened expectations. Trainwreck was nonetheless a very well written film with a great cast that deserve more leading roles to continue proving just how brilliant they are, and a director that seems to do very little wrong. If any comedy should get your attention this year, make it this.