Fourth Coast Entertainment -

Craig Thornton 

Trainwreck - Movie Review


Last updated 8/31/2015 at 5:47pm | View PDF

Amy Schumer and John Cena In Trainwreck

Amy Schumer makes an impressive leap from television and stand-up to the big screen in the bawdy, often hysterical, yet emotionally truthful, Trainwreck. Schumer's bold, brassy, often sexual humor has made her the "it star" of comedy today. Her three seasons as star, creator and writer of the Comedy Central sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer have culminated this year in three Emmy nominations as actress, director and writer. Schumer has also won a Peabody Award for Inside Amy Schumer.

Her writing skills are certainly put the test here as she is credited with the screenplay. One of the most successful comedy directors working today, Judd Apatow directed the film and the two have a great future as collaborators. Amy Schumer plays Amy, a variation of herself and her character on Inside Amy Schumer; a promiscuous, commitment-phobe, party girl. Yet from the beginning Amy's character is complex, and although her personal life may be messy, she is not irresponsible; she is career focused and helps a great deal in the care of her ailing, abrasive and angry father, played by Colin Quinn. She also tries valiantly to be supportive to her sister Kim (played by Brie Larson), who's traditional choices of marriage and children are completely foreign to Amy. But have no fear, Amy is a Trainwreck and makes bad choices that jeopardize all of her relationships as she careens from one one-night stand to the next.

Professional wrestler John Cena plays Amy's current muscle-bound boyfriend Steven at the beginning of the film. Cena's physique is massively impressive, but he is also a fairly good actor, in a deliciously written part. It's funny to see such a physically imposing guy be vulnerable and hurt by Amy's inability to commit. It's also funny to see Amy baffled by any guy who doesn't want to play by her rules of no exclusivity. The scene where Amy asks him to talk dirty to her is hysterical, as Steven admits his skills are physical not verbal.

Other pro-athletes and celebrities pepper the cast from a full-fledged supporting performance by Le Bron James warmly and slyly playing himself as sports doctor Aaron's (Bill Hader) close friend to Amar'e Stoudemire as one of Aaron's patients. There is only one scene involving Matthew Broderick and Chris Everett that feels a bit forced and just an excuse for star cameos, otherwise the celebrity casting works. Speaking of inspired casting, spotting Tilda Swinton in films could be a party game. Here she plays Amy's bitchy, self-absorbed boss, Dianna, and as usual it took me half the film to recognize her. She is the ultimate chameleon.

When Amy finds herself attracted to Sports doctor to the stars, Aaron, the subject of her current assignment at the magazine she writes for, she doesn't expect the one-night stand to stand longer than one night. However, when it is clear they are falling in love, Amy must negotiate something new, a real relationship wherein the partners actually care for each other. This is something she is painfully inexperienced at, and it provides much of the conflict and humor in the middle of the film.

Trainwreck is much more original than I expected it to be, and much funnier. Furthermore Amy's character arc and journey are authentic and believable. Her inability to commit and her distrust of men and love is totally credible by the prologue backstory and is shown in the present in the scenes with her father. Ditto for her indulgences in vices as well. Traditional romantic comedies could learn something from Trainwreck, which really isn't a rom-com at all. With its frank treatment of sex and a female protagonist who isn't obsessed with finding a man and getting married, but is ultimately smart enough to fight for a good thing when she sees it, Amy Schumer's Amy is leaps ahead most female characters in any genre currently on the big screen.

Amy Schumer's talents are voluminous and she is one of a kind; bawdy, raunchy, provocative, honest; yet human, self-depreciating and vulnerable and of course monstrously funny. Trainwreck is the perfect vehicle for her and the perfect film for those of us looking for an R rated adult comedy that is more than a gross-out-it has a heart.


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