A review of “Trainwreck,” an agreeable Judd Apatow relationship comedy starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
Two surprises emerge from the agreeable Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck”; namely a) it’s actually a quite conventional romantic comedy, albeit one with a high raunch factor; and b) LeBron James, playing himself, is very, very funny. (Maybe sports fans knew this already? I didn’t. But, seriously, if that basketball thing doesn’t work out, someone should get this guy his own rom-com; his exuberance and timing, particularly when he suddenly starts quoting Kanye West, are terrific.)
Schumer, who’s all over the media these days thanks to her hit TV series “Inside Amy Schumer,” wrote the screenplay and stars in “Trainwreck,” playing a character loosely based on herself (and, it seems, Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City”). Amy Townsend, in the film, is a hard-drinking, hard-partying Manhattan magazine writer with a raucous love life; she’s been taught, by her rascal father (Colin Quinn), that monogamy isn’t realistic. Enter Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a sweet sports-medicine doctor (James is his patient/best friend) … and Amy starts to wonder if growing up and settling down might not be the nightmare she’s imagined.
There’s nothing remotely fresh about this plotline (or the way Apatow, true to form, makes the movie 20 minutes longer than it should be), but “Trainwreck” works as comedy more often than it doesn’t — and that’s rare enough. The supporting cast is dotted with funny people; both expected (among the cast are “Saturday Night Live” vets Quinn, Vanessa Bayer and Leslie Jones) and unexpected. James, Marv Albert, Chris Evert and Amar’e Stoudemire (whose stuntman deserves a big hand) contribute good bits, as do Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei as stars of a soulful, hilarious art-film-within-the-film called “The Dog Walker.” (Yes, I would watch that movie.) And Tilda Swinton, cheekbones flaring, makes something wickedly brilliant from the role of Amy’s editor — if you’ve ever wondered what sort of magazine the White Witch of Narnia would run, wonder no more.
Movie Review ★★★
‘Trainwreck,’ with Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James. Directed by Judd Apatow, from a screenplay by Schumer. 122 minutes. Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use. Several theaters.
The central couple, though, determines whether a rom-com lives or dies, and “Trainwreck” gets by on Schumer’s unexpectedly adorable chemistry with Hader, which seems to sneak into the movie almost in spite of itself. Amy Townsend, though initially kind of a jerk to Aaron, has an inner sweetness that slowly emerges (particularly during one emotional scene that Schumer movingly plays) — and by the end of the film, you’re ready to cheer on this couple. And to hope that their buddy LeBron drops by often.
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