Film review: New raunchy comedy Trainwreck makes for memorable experience


By Ben Lash

Since Judd Apatow’s breakout film The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), the iconic, raunchy comedic writer and director has had a reputation of depicting middle-class Americans with somewhat relatable complications. However, in his newest directorial hit, Trainwreck, audiences are treated to comedian Amy Schumer’s first work of screenwriting.

The plot of Trainwreck is centered around magazine writer Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer), whose father has told her from a young age that “monogamy isn’t realistic.” Taking these words to heart, Amy engages in a promiscuous lifestyle in an attempt to free herself from the usual cycle of heartbreak and disappointment that is monogamy in her eyes.

While this lifestyle succeeds in distancing Amy from a seemingly complicated and unhappy world, a certain level of happiness and comfort seems to be missing from Amy’s life. However, once her magazine assigns her a story about a sports doctor, Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), we see Amy begin to tackle a truly monogamous relationship for the first time in her life as they begin to fall for each other.

While one of the more central subjects of the film is Amy and Conners’ relationship, this film is much more than just an average romantic comedy. In Apatow’s earlier films, romance is often involved in the central plot of movies, such as Knocked Up (2007) or The 40-Year-Old Virgin. It is hardly the singular or even most painful conflict the character or characters have to deal with. 

In Trainwreck, Amy and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), face the difficult challenge of taking care of their elderly father (Colin Quinn), who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Amy and Kim have conflicting feelings on how to help him. 

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Kim, who is working as hard as she can to secure a steady life with her boyfriend and stepson, constantly wants to distance herself from her father, seeming to resent him for his parenting earlier in life. Amy does her best to stand by her seemingly dysfunctional father and care for him with or without her sister’s support, but it is clearly a struggle.

It’s parts of the plot of Trainwreck that urge me to notify anyone reading this review that while the film is marked as a comedy, this is not Tropic Thunder. This is not Despicable Me. And do not say that for the vulgar language and sexual situations that frequent the film. This movie will go from witty pop culture references to deep, sometimes painful places that will likely resonate with some viewers. I wouldn’t be reaching by saying that you could expect to experience tears from both laughter and sadness.

All that aside, the film is put together very well, which can be expected from an experienced director like Apatow. The plot can meander at times, and there are silly situations that seem to be there more for the joke than the plot. But honestly, if that’s something that may bother you, you’re likely to be laughing too hard at the time to care. 

The performances from all actors range from decent to impressive. Schumer’s both dry and comedic narration helps establish a believable and relatable woman early in the film. Even Hader, known for ridiculous but entertaining roles in other Apatow films, pulls on the reigns a bit to present a much more stable, strongly likable character. But don’t worry, you’ll see the familiar Hader pop up from time to time.

You’ll also see an abundance of celebrity cameos throughout the film. Amy’s boyfriend early in the film is played by professional wrestler John Cena, and yes, each romance-filled scene with him is probably as awkward as you’d expect. 

Lebron James plays a loveably-sensitive and friendly version of himself, who is best friends with sports doctor Aaron. Initially, the cameos can seem a bit assaulting in number, but each celebrity executes their cameo well enough to keep the immersion in the film going, while still causing you to giggle and point from time to time.

If you like the mixture of awkward and painful situations and ridiculous and raunchy comedy seen in films such as Bridesmaids (2011) and Spy (2015), but with an inclusion of heart and emotion, similar to films like 50/50 (2011), this is certainly the film for you. I won’t call it a date movie – it’s a go-with-a-bunch-of-your-friends-to-laugh-and-maybe-cry movie. 

Click here to read Ben’s review of Ant-Man.

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