Being funny is hard. Being funny for two hours, is very hard. That’s the challenge laid at the feet of Trainwreck from the start and, like most Judd Apatow films, it is probably around half an hour too long. However, it does manage to be funny. A lot of which is due to a star making performance from Amy Schumer, who is also the first person to write a film that Apatow directed who is not called Judd Apatow.
Apparently based loosely on her own life, Trainwreck follows Amy Townsend (Schumer) a writer at men’s magazine S’Nuff, who spends her evenings getting drunk and sleeping with strangers. That is until she is sent to write a feature on sport’s doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) by her nutjob of an editor (Tilda Swinton). Unsurprisingly, those two fall for each other and a romantic comedy is born. I’m sure you can fill in all the blanks.
Which is really the biggest problem with this film. It has been called an anti-romcom, which sadly just isn’t true. Yes, they have swapped some gender roles. The men all tend to be very sensitive, while Amy is the exact opposite. But that aside, it’s really just business as usual. There’s nothing here that really stands out, at least from a plotting point of view.
Where this film does get it right, is in the casting. Schumer is great. Her brand of humour is self mocking, but intelligent enough to hopefully prevent her being type cast in the future. She feels confident of who she is as a performer and that comes out on the screen. Yet when she’s called to show a bit of fragility, she pulls it off, and it’s that which makes this truly feel like the start of a big career. Alongside her Bill Hader continues to show he needs to be given more screen time. The criminally underrated Skeleton Twins pointed towards a guy who’s dry delivery was perfect for this kind of film and he cements that opinion here.
They’re also backed up by a cast firing on all cylinders. Tilda Swinton is horrific (in a good way) as Amy’s editor and is almost unrecognisable as the head of a magazine which is perfectly willing to post articles about ugly celebrity children under the age of six. While even John Cena comes into this film and proves that maybe he is not as horrible an actor as we might have expected. He’s only in it briefly, but as Steven, Amy’s muscle-bound and sensitive ‘boyfriend’, he steals almost every scene he’s in. Even more of a revelation however, is LeBron James playing himself. As a close friend of Aaron’s, he rivals Cena for scene stealing turns and an ability to poke fun at himself.
As mentioned, it is far too long at over two hours. This kind of film would be perfectly suited to 90 minutes, but as things stand it begins to drag. The humour does also occasionally fall flat, with either references that maybe don’t work for a UK audience or improv being allowed to go on too long and running out of steam. However, more often than not this film hits it mark and you will at least chuckle most of the way through it. Most importantly though, it manages to be sweet at the same time, maybe even raising a tear to those vulnerable to such things. Amy Schumer’s face is probably one you should get used to seeing and if Trianwreck is anything to go off of, we should all be okay with that.