I’ve seen Amy Schumer’s stand up a few times and was thoroughly impressed by her talent. She has a natural ability to make you uncomfortable with multiple topics of conversation. And she will have you in tears with any one of those she picks. Trainwreck is like parts of her stand up methodology rolled up into her character, “Amy”, and the result works pretty well.
Amy is a magazine writer who is assigned reluctantly to cover a sports physician played by Bill Hader before he performs a experimental new knee surgery on Amare Stoudemire. Some of the setup is cliche; Amy loathes sports, Bill likes them, Amy (while the premise is given that she hates monogamy because of lessons instilled by her father) has commitment issues while Hader is adamant in trying to pursue the relation further. Before this occurs, we get to see how Amy has lived her life before, a string of one night stands while keeping WWE star John Cena on the side. That relationship ends because she can’t commit to Cena, but honestly, the problem was more about who Amy was as a person, and not the one night stands (although that’s a problem in itself)
After meeting Hader, they quickly hit it off, but Amy breaks one of her number one rules and stays over, starting the uphill climb towards building a relationship, which Hader desires, but Amy is reluctant to. While the rest of the movie has us following Schumer and Hader antics in creating a relationship, I’m left wondering why I was supposed to be rooting for Amy in the first place. Maybe part of Schumer’s aim by having a woman in the place we typically see so many men play (countless one night stands with reckless abandon) was to hold a mirror up to society. This mirror scolds us for allowing men to have wild, fruitless relationships while we shame women for doing the same thing. Maybe I’m thinking a bit too hard about it, but if that wasn’t the aim, then I’m left feeling a little weird right at the end of the film. (Major kudos if that was the goal, because I like to be challenged in my thinking, even if it is a comedy)
My only problem with romantic comedies is that they always rush the final resolution or character enlightenment and it’s no different in this film. I was having such a ball that when the film turned slightly serious, I still didn’t feel like I saw enough change to help me root for her during the last 10 minutes. To be fair, this is something I feel towards most rom-coms when they try to resolve a deep relational issue in only a few scenes. It feels like a sitcom trying to wrap up the moral of the week in a tight knot by showing Corey Matthews fixing his problems with Topanga in 2 minutes, any episode of Friends ever or gosh, I dunno, any sitcom since their inception. I’m not going to knock this film for that rushed ending too much, but I was disappointed because of how well they did in the beginning, I was hoping for a spectacular finish.
Let’s get to the other great actors that did well in this film: Lebron James, Tilda Swinton, SNL alum Vanessa Bayer, and John Cena are perfect in the roles they were given. Lebron tried to make everything into a basketball metaphor as he talked with Hader. I was pleasantly surprised by what he added. Swinton plays a wonderful head editor who has a very harsh outlook on the world. Bayer gets a few memorable scenes as Schumer’s magazine co-worker. Finally, Cena has a scene where he really shines as he argues with a guy in a theater, it get’s very awkward to say the least, but you will be in tears and holding your sides. There are two more major celeb cameos in the film that I will not spoil because they are just that good. Trust me, you’ll be glad I saved those for you.
All in all, while I would have liked a better bow to finish this film out, I still can’t knock the final product. I haven’t been impressed with most recent or modern comedies, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one, so take that for whatever it’s worth. I’ll be excited to see what Schumer can come up with in the future.
Trainwreck: 8 out of 10
Written by Kenneth Shipp