Trainwreck is a successful collaboration between Amy Schumer, the writer and star, and Judd Apatow, the director, and blends together their type of humor. I personally think Schumer elevates what Apatow might do, although she is considered pretty raw herself. Judd saw Schumer on one of Howard Stern’s shows, and their collaboration began soon after that when he read a script she was writing and essentially taught her how it’s done, encouraging her to write about what was going on in her life. It was the first version of this film, and when I saw its current version at the SXSW Film Festival, it was still being called a work in progress.
I love the way the movie opens (as seen in the preview) with Amy’s father announcing to his two daughters (of about ages 7 and 5) that “Monogamy is not realistic!” Of course, Amy the younger had no idea what the term meant then, but by the time she is a young adult, she has taken his philosophy about marriage to heart, and diligently plays the field, ditching any man who starts to get too close. The story is about how that’s working out for her.
She is convinced that she loves her life and her work, which is writing for a men’s magazine, and is excited about an assignment given to her by her gutsy, unpredictable boss Dianna (Swinton, once again hardly recognizable). The assignment is to get a profile of sports doctor Aaron Conners (Hader), a rising star in sports medicine with LeBron James as one of his patients. She meets Conners, they hit it off, and begin a hot romance. Amy is unprepared for the depth of feeling that arises across time, and tests her basic philosophy to its limits with great comedic and passionate force.
The film is not all comedy and froth; characteristic of Apatow’s films, the characters spend some time with real-life issues and character-changing moments. So Amy’s growing knowledge of herself and her relationship with her sister (Larson) and her father in the nursing home provide opportunities for some soul-enriching, insightful moments that give the film more substance.
Schumer is a talented actress, and Hader is just as successful here in a dramatic role as he was in a similar drama-comedy, Skeleton Twins. Supporting cast (Larson, Swinton, Bayer) keep the quality high, as well as the “non-actors” LeBron James, along with Amar’e Stoudemire, Tony Romo, and Chris Evert in cameo roles.
Good Schumer humor.