In descending order of importance Amy (Amy Schumer, who also wrote the script) is a party girl, drinker and journalist. Her serial womanizing father’s mantra, “Monogamy isn’t realistic,” made an impression and she has grown into a promiscuous woman whose main relationship rule is “never stay over.” She inappropriate, sometimes cruel—“You are not nice,” says one ex—and occasionally clueless but nonetheless is handed a plum assignment by her editor (Tilda Swinton) to write an article on hotshot sports doctor Aaron Connors (Bill Hader).
Breaking both her personal rule and the first law of journalism, she gets involved with her subject. She leaves a toothbrush at his house, introduces him to her family and for once stays monogamous. Their relationship blooms until she allows self doubt—Why would this guy want to go out with me?—to get in the way of enjoying a happy, functional relationship.
There’s more to the story. Subplots about Amy’s ailing father (Colin Quinn), her sister’s (Brie Larson) suburban life and LeBron James’s cheapness—“I don’t want to end up like MC Hammer!”—are woven into the fabric, but the heart of the tale is about Amy and Aaron. Their roles are flipped—she plays the traditionally male commitment-phobe role, while Aaron wants to settle down—but it is their chemistry that keeps us interested.
Like most Apatow films “Trainwreck” is frontloaded with outrageous laughs that slowly give way to a funny but more restrained resolution. Schumer delivers most of the raunchy stuff but is never less than likeable, even when her character is reckless and immature. It’s a fine line that she treads in her stand-up comedy and it translates to the screen. Perhaps it’s because of the deep core of truth that props up even the more outrageous moments or perhaps it’s her way with a line. Either way her charm in the comedic and dramatic is the stuff of movie stars.
Hader is an unlikely romantic lead, but for many of the same reasons Schumer succeeds he scores a home run as Aaron. His scenes with Schumer have a comic ease about them, but his funniest work is reserved for his back-and-forth with LeBron James. The basketball superstar is the film’s unexpected secret weapon, delivering lines like, “Do you see his face when you look into clouds?” with the ease of a seasoned comic.
“Trainwreck” is complex and laugh out loud funny—you’ll likely miss some of the best lines because you’ll be laughing so hard—not a mix you get in many rom coms. Featuring edgy, interesting performances from its leads and supporting cast—especially Colin Quinn and Tilda Swinton—it is an auspicious big screen debut for Schumer and is Apatow’s most focused and interesting film to date.