I’m not quite ready to anoint LeBron James the next great comedic actor of our generation, but damn, he’s pretty good in Trainwreck. And he’s not even the best part of the movie. That honor falls to Amy Schumer, who not only stars but also wrote the screenplay.
Schumer’s brand of raunchy, no-holds-barred comedy has mostly been relegated to her Comedy Central show (how has she never hosted Saturday Night Live?), but in Trainwreck she proves that she actually has some talent that goes beyond just pushing people’s buttons.
She plays Amy Townshend, a sexually shall-we-say-adventurous New York City woman who writes for a Maxim-like magazine. Her latest assignment is to profile Dr. Aaron Connors (Bill Hader), a renowned sports doctor whose clients include LeBron, Amar’e Stoudemire, and the Knicks City Dancers.
It doesn’t take long for Amy to figure out that Aaron might actually be the kind of guy she could settle down with, as much as it (and also his love of sports) goes against every fiber of her being.
What could have been just another rote oil-and-water romantic comedy is saved by Schumer’s multi-layered screenplay, which includes sub-plots about her acerbic father (Colin Quinn) battling MS, her suburbia-loving sister (Brie Larson) raising an oddball stepson, and her boss (an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton) taking “loony” to a whole new level.
Trainwreck marks Judd Apatow’s first time directing a script he didn’t write himself, and it may just be among his best efforts yet. Even though the movie dissolves into too-familiar territory toward the end (yes, there’s the requisite lost-love music montage), Apatow succeeds overall. The chemistry between Schumer and Hader is pitch-perfect, and Apatow coaxed great performances not only from Schumer, but the entire cast from top to bottom (and, yes, that includes LeBron). A slew of cameos from the likes of Method Man, Matthew Broderick, and Marisa Tomei only adds to the fun.
Sure, Trainwreck would have been better served had a good fifteen or twenty minutes been left on the editing room floor, but it still survives as one of the funnier (and occasionally even touching) flicks to drop this year. It’s not an unqualified success, certainly, but there’s more than enough here that works; it’s a clear winner in an otherwise ho-hum summer movie season.