To preface what’s to come, I’ll say this: Trainwreck is my favorite comedy I’ve reviewed for this or any previous website.
It’s as much Amy Schumer’s big-screen debut as it is a showcase of her talent, and with that we’re talking about two different things.
What brought you and I to the theater was the anticipation of her debut. The mind, body and spirit behind Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, the people’s actress so universally liked and relatable, deserved a two-hour role on the big screen and was awarded it. She brought all her skill, the sneaky undertones of sarcasm in her delivery that make her sound like everyday us and uncanny ability to use her body to achieve physical comedy, to the film.
But I assure you, Schumer’s dramatic scenes may be even better than the rest of it. This classically-trained actress brings something more to the equation than a laugh. She’s dynamite when asked to stray from the genre that earned her a big screen debut. It’s that surprising, yet endlessly memorable trait that allows her to transform Trainwreck into more than an annual fun summer movie.
More so, it’s a comedy classic for a new generation, headlined by a friendly voice finally reaching the mountaintop.
She has also written the film, in many ways based on her relationship with real-life sister, Kim Caramele, and type-casted herself very well. What makes her comedy so relatable, especially to other women, is how she sounds familiar. So by Schumer playing the film’s Amy, a classified “trainwreck” who’s convinced monogamy is impossible, she’s all the more relative. Everyone knows a trainwreck.
Writing is clearly just one more thing she’s really good at. Few writers can draft characters who sound unapologetically amateurish, which makes them more relatable than anything else. Schumer, comfortable in her unique voice, delivers. There’s a splash of everything from a nerdy dad and twitchy friend to a psychotic magazine editor.
What’s even more enjoyable is “The Dogwalker,” the film of choice within the film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei. It’s a snooty, black-and-white, artistic look at the life of a dog walker, and it’s delightful. I mustn’t spoil the ending.
Schumer has gathered a terrific cast, including Bill Hader opposite LeBron James, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, and many more who must be begging to join what should become a long line of people who want to work with her. Of note, the way Hader, playing a well-known sports doctor, and James, as himself, interact is truly sensational. There’s a chemistry between them that can’t have been easy to develop. They’re BFFs, and it works. James’ performance alone is noteworthy, thanks to the way Schumer traced him off the court as a somewhat-nerdy, regular guy who’s protective of his friend. Actually, the film is unexpectedly littered with professional sports cameos, but James is genuinely really funny. That makes me happy.
This is a Judd Apatow-directed film, which ought to warrant a warning label. It usually means the comedy is long and eventually going to get dramatic. His form has produced some stinky disappointments in the past — the worst being Funny People, though even Knocked Up and This is 40 dried out. And while Trainwreck is a smidgen over two hours and does create drama, it’s the best of his directed works because of the fantastic ending that caps this entertaining feast. Schumer goes real big for it. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
I suppose Trainwreck is more than just the best comedy I’ve ever reviewed. It has to be one of my all-time favorites.