Viewers fall very willingly and happily into the world of hugely popular American comedian Amy Schumer’s bad girl rom-com Trainwreck (2015). This summer has been dominated by conversations of just how Schumer’s take on contemporary female dating habits are shaking up the genre, providing a biting commentary on how women fall in love on-screen. Trainwreck is Schumer’s ostensible breakout hit, a dramedy that is on the more palatable side of the Apatow spectrum.
It’s a film that, much like its main character, subliminally buries the truths about being a modern woman and relationship politics within sharp jokes, making for a comic ebb and flow that keeps attention held and tugs at the heartstrings. Amy (Schumer) is the quintessential “girl who has it all”: in her opening voiceover, as she makes her way home after yet another in a dizzying series of one-night stands, she boasts of having a great apartment, great friends and a really cool job as a journalist for a trendy men’s magazine.
Amy pokes fun at her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), who has chosen to settle down and play suburban mum to the lumpy but safe Tom (Mike Birbiglia) and his son. Amy loves the frivolity of her single girl lifestyle, preferring the route of a wild night out and casual sex nightcaps to anything too homebound. In typical rom-com fashion, Amy romantic ideologies are tested when she is assigned to interview sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader). With far fewer notches in his belt and an old-fashioned approach to love, Aaron is Amy’s romantic foil. He’s a harmless, humorous, and, best (or worst, if you are Amy) of all: he’s monogamous. Amy soon finds herself not only secretly loving monogamy but actively fighting against it, rewiring herself into an antihero audiences can love. Thankfully, Schumer’s big step into feature-length is seamless and thoroughly enjoyable.
Luckily, Schumer is able to deliver her incisive, wry punchlines with the same affability she bring to her sketch comedy. She shines in the lead role. She and Hader make an ace team, bouncing off of each other through the plot peaks and troughs. Apatow, the current king of humorous realism, as director is an easy alliance with Schumer’s script. He captures the core truths of Schumer’s script, lets human moments shine through and draw viewers in deeper. His knack to gently shift the tone from moment to moment is a benefit to this yarn. If anything, this film is a great showcase for LeBron James as a supporting character. He delivers some of the best one-liners, stealing every scene he is in. Trainwreck is a breath of fresh air to a genre that’s laden with duds.
Allie Gemmill | @alliegem