Her new film, Trainwreck, her first starring vehicle, which she also wrote, is in its third week of release. It has made $61 million so far domestically on a $35 million budget, so prepare for more Amy.
If Trainwreck is any indication of the quality to come, I’m OK with that. Despite some unevenness, and a premise that is a little misleading, it’s a solid comedy with a lot to offer.
The film follows the romantic misadventures of Amy (her name in the film as well) a senior writer with a sleazy Maxim magazine clone. Her boss, Tilda Swinton in a nearly unrecognizable turn, is a monster who is turning Amy into a monster, too. Her sister, played by Brie Larson, has a family which bores Amy. Their father, one of the film’s highlights, played by the great Colin Quinn, is in a nursing home wasting away. And all the while Amy blithely parties and drinks and works her way through a succession of one-night stands and a mock relationship with a muscle-bound imbecile, another highlight played by John Cena in a role that’s nothing short of a revelation. That is, of course, until she meets an unexpected prince charming in the form of Bill Hader, playing Aaron, a charming and naïve orthopedic surgeon who is the subject of a story she’s writing.
The formula is somewhat worn, because we’ve seen it so many times. Particularly from Apatow, who executed nearly the same film 10 years ago with Knocked Up. Interestingly, Schumer seems to have come up with this very Apatow-esque conservative morality tale, with a family values message at its core, all on her own. Like that film, the formula is pretty simple and you know exactly where the whole thing is going the whole time. The protagonist is a slacker with bad habits and a selfish outlook, but the yoke of love and responsibility eventually straightens them out, and they discover the thing they thought they feared the most (responsibility) is actually a good thing. But much like Knocked Up, the predictability isn’t a problem. The characters and the setup are likable enough, and the laughs remain plentiful throughout.
Schumer’s Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, currently in its third season, is hitting its stride as the most talked about show on the network. Though its ratings still lag behind the network’s flagships, Tosh.0 and South Park, it is consistently the subject of debate and Internet love every week when it airs. And with network’s other sketch comedy contenders disappearing (Kroll Show and Key & Peele are both ending their runs), Inside is poised to be the face of the network for the foreseeable future. What better time to join forces with the once and former King Midas of Hollywood, Judd Apatow.
Though Apatow’s shine has faded somewhat in recent years, with both Funny People (2009) and This Is Forty (2012) failing to recapture the magic of Knocked Up (2007), he remains one of the most respected names in comedy, and his productions still demand attention.
Trainwreck appears to be breathing new life into Apatow’s career with a tried and true formula. I couldn’t argue with it, as even when it was at its most predictable, it was hard not to laugh. My biggest two complaints about the movie were the way LeBron James, playing himself, was mostly wasted in forgettable scenes, and that the film didn’t really resemble what was marketed. The trailers for the film, and the title, indicated the film would be about a lady who’s just a real mess, constantly getting herself into insane situations with her promiscuity and love of alcohol. But in the end, her life resembled the lives of most Americans from age 18 to 34. Until we meet someone who we care about, and who makes us care about ourselves, we tend to be self-destructive.
That’s why the slogan on the poster was somewhat of a letdown, and Amy’s road to revelation somewhat a head fake.
The poster says, “We all know one.” It should read, “We all are one.”
Trainwreck is currently playing at the Carmike 12 Cinema on Circle Boulevard.
By Ygal Kaufman