Listen to the review by Dennis Morton, and read transcript below.
I gave my television away over twenty years ago, so I’m a few decades behind when it comes to knowing who today’s TV stars are. Which is why I’d never heard of Amy Schumer, until I saw Trainwreck. I’m so glad I did.
Schumer not only stars in Trainwreck – she also wrote the script. The first time I watched it, the theatre was packed and the laughter was so loud and so frequent that I missed many of the lines. So of course, I had to go back – again, and again.
According to the production notes for the film, much of Trainwreck is based on Schumer’s actual experiences. She even names the lead character Amy. Amy, the character, has been leading a life of sexual abandon. She’s followed her impulses and scrupulously avoided lasting commitments. By day she’s a writer for a sleazy men’s magazine. By night, she’s a bed-hopping libertine.
She seems to be following the advice of her father, who, as the film opens, delivers a homily on the virtue of promiscuity to his two small daughters. It’s outrageously funny. The gist of it, theoretically a rationale for his impending divorce from their mother is: monogamy isn’t realistic. It becomes gospel for Amy. But not so for Amy’s sister, who evolves into an angry apostate.
Immediately after their dad concludes his address, the film shoots 23 years into the future – which is present day New York City. Director Judd Apatow introduces us to a few samples of Amy’s legion of sexual partners. One of them is a muscle bound gym hound with thinly repressed homosexual urges. Amy seems not to notice. She abandons ship when Mr. Muscles tells her that his dream is to marry her and have five sons.
Some of the best moments in the film occur at the offices of the magazine. The editor is played by the great Tilda Swinton, so ‘made up’ she’s hardly recognizable. She has an ice cube for a heart and she’s all business. At one of the pitch sessions, where staff writers toss story ideas at the editor, Amy ends up with an assignment to interview a sports doctor, a fellow who’s developed a way to repair broken knees. Among his clients are more than a few big names in the sporting world. The biggest name is LeBron James, who portrays himself in the film.
We quickly realize that the doc and LeBron have become close friends. LeBron has taken an almost paternal interest in the doc’s social life, or more accurately, his absence of one. So, when something begins to sizzle between Amy and the doc, who is played wonderfully by Bill Hader, LeBron is not shy about encouraging the incipient I have the suspicion that it might be difficult to play yourself in a movie. How do you get out of your skin and back into it simultaneously? At any rate, LeBron James does a great job of it. He’s clearly very funny.
Trainwreck is not so much about a wreck as it is about retraining oneself. The ride can get rocky, but the journey is worth the risk. Trainwreck is often hilarious, sometimes sad, and always engaging.