Amy Schumer plays Amy Schumer in a movie about how difficult it would probably be to date Amy Schumer. And its great.
Anyone who has heard her standup act or watched her wildly popular and groundbreaking sketch comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer, has already met the heroine of her new movie, Trainwreck.
Amy plays a writer for a mens magazine called SNUFF who leads the kind of lifestyle that would be idealized by such a periodical. She drinks frequently. She smokes pot. She sleeps with a lot of guys, despite being in a relationship with muscle-bound Steven (played by WWE professional wrestler John Cena).
Her reckless behavior is modeled after her father, a multiple sclerosis patient beautifully played by Colin Quinn, while her sister Kim (Brie Larsen) has gone the other way.
All of this is place setting for the main course: Oklahomas own Bill Hader as a successful sports surgeon who falls for Amys charmingly charmless charms. She grudgingly returns his affections, and a movie love-montage follows.
Most comedic romances are a foregone conclusion, but with director Judd Apatow at the helm of a Schumer-penned script, Trainwreck feels like it could go off the rails at any time. Part of that is down to the unflinching eye the film casts on Amys problems. She drinks too much. She gets too high to function. As much as she cares for Haders Aaron, shes so uncomfortable with a real emotional connection that she sees every roadblock as an opportunity to give up.
If that sounds dour, then you dont know Schumer. Shes someone who can mine humor from the bleakest terrains check out her hilarious takedown of boy bands, music that glorifies butts and even the militarys issues with rape and the wide-open landscape of a New York City romance gives her ample opportunities to pile on the laughs.
Trainwreck walks the line between serious and funny, sweet and offensive, poking holes in hoary old movie stereotypes.
Schumer hits all the right notes and goes deeper as an actress than shes usually allowed to on TV. Her comedy is physical without losing the subtle touches.
Hader, who made his name on Saturday Night Live, makes an affable, believable leading man. As Aaron, hes a smart, accomplished goofball who rightly wins over Amy. And the reality of their relationship is the reason its easy to worry about them as the rough patches begin to appear.
NBA all-star LeBron James is a scene-stealer playing himself. Hes not asked to lift any heavy dramatic loads, but he does a fine job as Aarons cheapskate multi-millionaire best friend.
Professional chameleon Tilda Swinton is hilariously hateable as Amys boss, and the able, seasoned comedic team of Jon Glaser, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia and Randall Park keep the action moving with plenty of laughs.
Its a surprisingly sweet film made all the sweeter by the contrast of a heroine who cant understand why living her fathers dream life isnt making her happy. She didnt choose to be in a romantic comedy, but thats what makes her a perfect fit.
Print headline: Sweet debris, Trainwreck is a hilarious look at dysfunction.