I always feel like I have to come with an official warning whenever I write a review about a comedy. I generally don’t like comedies. I’m not easily amused, and infantile humor does not impress me.
That being said, it’s a little surprising that I went to see “Trainwreck” this week. I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about Amy Schumer and the film. Plus, it’s directed by Judd Apatow, who directed films like “This Is 40” and produced “Bridesmaids,” the latter being a film I kind of loved.
Honestly, I didn’t laugh a lot. I expected BFG to physically roll in the floor a couple of times, but some of “humor” was apparently lost on me. I don’t like the kind of humor that is simply raunchy and offensive for the sake of being raunchy and offensive. Nothing is off limits in this one, and there is more than one “joke” that is ridiculously tasteless.
Schumer stars as Amy, a woman taught from childhood that monogamy is bad. She grows into an adult that sleeps around, drinks a lot and smokes weed. She works at a magazine called “S’Nuff.” Its journalistic endeavors include things like how to not get caught doing naughty things at work and how to get caught. I really can’t think of a way to describe the magazine’s content in a way that wouldn’t be NSFW.
While a lot of the jokes might have fallen short for me, “Trainwreck” is still a very clever film. Yeah, it’s dirty. Yes, it’s raunchy and crude and kind of tasteless at times, but it’s also kind of intelligent, if you can believe it.
Amy is a trainwreck. She’s spent her life coasting. She drinks too much, kills brain cells regularly, and Lord only knows how she’s avoided becoming a walking STD. And then she meets Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a surgeon who focuses on sports injuries and teaches Amy not only about athletics but also life.
I get Amy. I wish I could say I didn’t, but I get her. Life is a lot easier when you don’t have to be an adult. Frankly, being an adult can suck. She’s worried about screwing up. Her job is a joke, she’s scared of getting hurt, and she isn’t able to move past the little girl whose daddy told her “Monogamy isn’t realistic.”
She creates drama and tumultuous relationships wherever she goes. She pushes people away and slings insults freely. She finds out her sister Kim (Brie Larson) is pregnant and encourages her to drink. She insults Kim’s husband, her stepson and her choices mercilessly, because it’s not a path she’s taken in her own life.
At the end of the day, Amy isn’t a nice person. She’s got a boyfriend, Steven, (played by wrestler John Cena) who she emasculates and cheats on. She gives a relationship with Aaron a chance, only to push and push at him till he finally can’t take anymore and ends things. That last one, I’m ashamed to say, not only hit home, it slammed into me.
Amy doesn’t know how to be an adult. She doesn’t know how to take risks and reach for the stars. She learned a long time ago the stars will always be just past your fingertips no matter how hard you stretch. So yeah, this comedy, this rom-com is kind of traumatic, if you really think about it.
I love the relationship between Amy and Aaron, although I’m sad to say Schumer and Hader don’t have a whole lot of chemistry. Honestly, they’re adorable and twisted all at the same time. So, I can overlook the lack of sparks.
However, Hader DOES have chemistry with Lebron James, which is something I never thought I’d say. James, who plays a version of himself, stars as Aaron’s BFF. Lebron’s character in “Trainwreck” is a funny, penny-pinching, sensitive superstar.
Out of all those adjectives, I’m most surprised by the funny part. He’s actually funny here, surprisingly enough.
Another amazing cast is the always amazing Tilda Swinton (Amy’s boss, Dianna, at S’nuff). I’ve seen this performer in so many different kinds of roles, and she knocks it out of the park. Every. Single. Time. I’m kind of convinced there’s nothing she can’t do.
Lebron and Swinton are also just two of the many, many cameos in this film. It’s insane to me how many faces pop up in this movie. “Saturday Night Live” alum Hader is joined by other SNL alumni, Colin Quinn (Amy’s dad) and Tim Meadows (random neighbor). And since we delve into the world of sports, the film also features Marv Albert, Chris Evert and Amar’e Stoudemire. There’s also a random appearance by Matthew Broderick.
“Trainwreck” has star power and will also cement Schumer’s own place in Hollywood. But I’m not going to lie about this one: I don’t think it’s because she can make you laugh by telling 50 jokes in a row about sex. I also don’t think this fame is owed to crude humor, although crude sells. We all know that movies featuring the equivalent of fart jokes do really, really well. Which makes me throw up a little in my mouth.
However, Schumer is more than a comedian who uses crude, infantile humor to make an easy buck. “Trainwreck” is also more than a film about a chick who has a lot of sex and drinks a lot. It’s a film about life and getting by. Yeah, Schumer has a potty mouth, but she’s also got an ability to tell an amazing story. It’s an odd combo.
I admire the fact that she has a huge set of kahunas and doesn’t care what folks think. She isn’t looking for your approval, and that may be her strongest asset.
And for the record, I did laugh at the end. It was sweet and pretty funny. So there.
Now, all the rest of these comedians need to catch up with Schumer. She has heart. She knows storytelling. And, she can even tell a joke or two. That’s pretty impressive to a girl like me.