Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena and Colin Quinn
Sometimes the best way to stay true to your morals and personality, while also striving to reach your full potential, is to fully embrace the idea of reinventing your signature qualities that have long since become stereotypical and clichéd. That powerful attempt to revive your emotions and thoughts, and how they’re presented to the world, is the all-important theme in the upcoming comedy, ‘Trainwreck.’ The film, which is set to be released in theaters on July 17, marks the captivating recreation of director Judd Apatow, who once again fearlessly infuses the romantic comedy genre with a stunning role reversal that questions how men and women act in relationships. The movie also marks the feature film writing and leading role debuts of actress and comedian Amy Schumer, who naturally proves that she understands the difficulties of staying true to who you really are, while also striving to transform into the person you’re meant to be in your ever-changing connections with the people in your life.
‘Trainwreck’ begins with two young sisters as they’re being told by their philandering father, Gordon (Colin Quinn), that he’s divorcing their mother, before he instills in them that monogamy isn’t realistic. Almost a quarter century later, the older sister, Amy Townsend (Schumer), is still living by her dad’s mentality on relationships. As a writer for a New York-based men’s magazine who has aspirations to be promoted to an editor’s position, Amy is enjoying her life that’s free of a serious romantic commitment. She rarely ever sees the men she sleeps with for a second date, except for the fitness obsessed Steven (John Cena), who seems more interested in trying to make their causal relationship serious than she does.
Amy’s view on love soon begins to change, however, when she’s begrudgingly assigned by her callous boss, Dianna (Tilda Swinton), to write a profile of Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). Amy initially struggles with how to best approach the article, as Aaron’s a noted sports-medicine doctor, whose patients include LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire, and she knows very little about sports. When the charming doctor begins to express interest in forming a personal romantic relationship with Amy, she begins to question if her once steadfast resistance to serious commitments can positively be changed.
While her colleague and friend, Nikki (Vanessa Bayer), shares her hesitance of forming serious romantic relationships, Amy soon starts to recognize how happy her younger sister, Kim (Brie Larson), is in her marriage. While the older sister has always connected with their father’s stance on monogamy, she begins to understand Kim’s insistence that he was never really there for them or their mother, as she forms her connection with Aaron. As Amy reflects on their father’s life, as he’s suffering from the advanced stages of MS, and the expenses of his assisted-living home remain a lingering source of contention between the sisters, she finally begins to accept the fact that her new relationship is changing who she really is.
While ‘Trainwreck’ is his first feature directorial effort that he didn’t also write the screenplay for, Apatow was finally able to powerfully return to his helming glory that began a decade ago with his initial film directing efforts, ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ and ‘Knocked Up.’ Working with Schumer on her writing and acting duties on ‘Trainwreck’ allowed the filmmaker to once again create an enthralling and relevant modern protagonist in the character of Amy, who’s struggling to find true happiness and contentment in her personal relationships. Apatow fearlessly reversed the gender roles in the romantic comedy genre, showing that Amy is the initially immature hero who learns to not only accept, but also embrace, the fact that Aaron, the person who’s pursuing her, is genuinely interested in her. Emphasizing her insecurities about why the respectable Aaron would be attracted to her, and her ultimate determination to fight those personal fears, showcase a welcome development in the director’s signature chronicling of immature adults struggling to find their place in society.
Schumer, who has rightfully garnered fame for her hilarious writing and acting on her hit Comedy Central sketch comedy series, ‘Inside Amy Schumer,’ captivatingly and effortlessly made the transition into penning and starring as the protagonist in a feature film. The scribe and actress naturally emphasized how her character’s long-standing resistance to committed romantic relationships stemmed from seeing the disastrous effects of her parents’ divorce, and her father’s subsequent actions and beliefs towards becoming seriously involved with another woman. But after witnessing Kim’s endless happiness in her marriage and being a stepmother, and seeing Aaron’s devotion to making their relationship work, Amy powerfully begins to embrace the fact that she also deserves to be loved and accepted for who she really is.
While Schumer crafted an overall humorous and equally sentimental exploration of how people, especially woman, can truly learn to accept themselves after receiving encouragement and inspiration from the people who care about them, some parts of her memorable script did unfortunately lag at times. From the unnecessary voice-over Amy gives throughout the comedy, which was at-times amusingly self-aware, especially when she comically mentions how the love montage sequence between her and Aaron goes against the beliefs she’s held for most of her life, to her repeated similar interactions with the homeless man outside of her apartment, some plot elements soon grow tired and out-of-place. Although they do initially offer moments of humor, the inconsequential running jokes do little to further develop the more powerful and meaningful moments between Amy and Aaron, who was intriguingly portrayed by Hader in another inventive and unique performance.
‘Trainwreck’ features a stellar, amusing and relatable story that compelling showcases Schumer’s natural talents and abilities as a comedic feature film writer and lead actress. The performer formed a naturally captivating bond with Hader as they developed the growing serious emotions that formed between their characters, and showed how Aaron was integral to helping Amy realize and accept the fact that truly caring for someone else doesn’t have to end in pain. While the repetitive nature of some of the running jokes throughout the comedy ultimately took away from Amy’s equally gripping and hilarious development, overall the writer and actress enthrallingly worked with Apatow to courageously reverse the gender roles in the romantic comedy genre, and prove that comedy can be the best way to capture someone’s heart.
Written by: Karen Benardello