Review: Nathan Blake on “Trainwreck”

There certainly is convention to Judd Apatow’s latest raunch-filled romantic comedy, but it’s expertly buried beneath more laughs than any summer comedy in years.

The plot is thin and straightforward. Amy (Amy Schumer) is a successful career woman who has serious commitment issues. The opening 20 minutes features a mashup of countless boozy one night stands and the hungover ferry rides that follow. But when Amy is asked to interview Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a surgeon who treats some of the biggest names in sports, she falls for him and has to come to terms with her fear of commitment. This is far from a fresh concept, but it works better than it should for several reasons.

The first, of course, is Amy Schumer. So excellent is her delivery that she even gets laughs out of the few lines that should fall flat or result in eye rolls. She handles the heavier scenes quite well too. She manages to do physical and verbal humor quite well and never falls into the one note traps that tend to happen with many R-rated comedies (think Seth Rogen’s over-use of profanity for nearly two hours in 50/50 or Melissa McCarthy’s trash talk in Spy).

Aside from Schumer, the rest of the cast is strong as well. This film relies heavily on cameos. Some of the best bits are athletes and celebrities playing themselves. LeBron James is not someone I ever wanted to see in a film, yet he is hilarious and has great chemistry with Schumer and Hader.

This may be Schumer’s vehicle, but everyone gets strong material to work with. And while Amy is pressured by family and friends to realize that the solution to her problems is to get married and have kids, the film offers frequent reminders that such actions do not always foster commitment.

I’ll leave it to you to see the film and find out what it says instead, but it represents a new level of maturity for Apatow. As for Schumer, this is a strong first lead role for her.

She recently earned her first acting Emmy nomination. I would not be surprised to see her add an Oscar nomination to her list of accolades within the next couple of months. Her work in Trainwreck just may be the comedy performance of the year.

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