Four out of five stars
Some are probably going to say Amy Schumer’s deft, beautifully written and hilarious screenplay is revolutionary for flipping the script, so to speak, on dating. I don’t think so. We’ve seen a number of movies in which empowered women were the players and the men were being played, my favorite probably being Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. What distinguishes "Trainwreck" from those that’ve come before is Schumer’s loud, original, versatile voice.
Schumer plays Amy, a features writer for a lifestyles magazine run by Tilda Swinton, who plays a woman who could be the love child of Elizabeth Hurley and Meryl Streep’s character from "The Devil Wears Prada." If you don’t already know it’s Swinton, you likely won’t until you watch the credits. She’s phenomenal, as is the rest of the supporting cast.
But back to Amy. Thanks to her father’s (Colin Quinn) honesty about his infidelity, something he explained to Amy and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), when they were children, Amy has serious commitment and drinking issues. She also has a muscle-bound boyfriend (a scene-stealing John Cena) but cheats on him with some guys she frankly sometimes can’t remember — or at least recall how she wound up in their apartment.
All that’s going to change, though (it always does in these movies), when she’s assigned to do a piece on groundbreaking sports medicine surgeon Aaron, played to perfection by Bill Hader. Aaron’s best friend, by the way, is LeBron James, who’s quite good playing a very sensitive version of LeBron James (for all we know, James really is that sensitive in real life).
Take away the alcohol, the one-night stands and the dirty jokes, and "Trainwreck" can be reduced to this exchange in which Aaron asks Amy out:
Aaron: “Do you want to grab some dinner?” Amy: “Actually, Aaron, I think you’re so great and, but I’m a writer, I’m your writer, you’re my subject, and from now on, we need to just keep it professional.” Aaron: “Yeah, I think we really like each other and we should start dating.” Amy: “No, I’m saying… I’m confused… Am I not communicating this right?” Aaron: “No, I hear you, I’m just saying I disagree. Do you like me?” Amy: “Yeah.” Aaron: “Yeah, see, I really like you. So we should be a couple.” Amy: “No, no. I have plans.” Aaron: “What are your plans?” Amy: “Dentist.” Aaron: “Is that true?” Amy: “No.”
It’s a wonderful, honest exchange between two extraordinarily talented comic actors imbuing the dialogue with humor, meaning and heart.
Let’s give director Judd Apatow credit here. With Schumer, he’s working with a star who’s never before been asked to carry a movie, and several professional athletes who have little acting experience. One could gripe this movie could’ve been better served by a female director, but Apatow proves to be exactly the person "Trainwreck" needed.