Judd Apatow’s latest attempt to mine humor from all-too-familiar scenarios is simply hilarious.
In his fifth feature film as a director, Apatow once again shows his continuing knack for hits as he introduces us to Amy (TV’s “Inside Amy Schumer”) who has been raised by her philandering father to believe that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a barhopping, pot-smoking magazine writer, she lives by that doctrine, and is enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited sex life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.
“Trainwreck” benefits enormously from the likeability of its leads. Aaron is a nerdy overachiever in the world of sports medicine. He wants to help people and works with Doctors Without Borders, which is an organization that he feels strongly about, while the straight-talking Amy is no model of moral integrity. She’s a sexual girl who does what she wants, even if it means ending up doing the walk of shame among early morning commuters with whom she takes the Staten Island ferry. The juxtaposition of the two characters proves fertile ground for fantastic banter for they are believable and extremely likeable as the thrust together couple.
With sparkling performances from characters that include Brie Larson as Amy’s straight laced sister to stand-up comedian Colin Quinn, who plays their sardonic father, what makes this film work is its ability to squeeze big laughs out of real-world situations. The film succeeds because the actors play their characters well. With a carousel of entertaining characters, the supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, who plays Amy’s boss, the brazen British editor of S’Nuff magazine and Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James as Aaron’s best friend. James is a penny-pincher who loves the TV show “Downton Abbey” and always insists they split the check despite his financial success. “Look at what happened to MC Hammer,” he says in one scene. New York Knicks’ (and current Dallas Mavericks’) star player Amar’e Stoudemire also makes an appearance and rapper Method Man plays a nursing assistant.
Resisting any urge to look for just one laugh-out-loud moment per scene, Apatow shoots for incessant humor loading up every other minute with witticisms and filling smaller roles with other talented comedians (Dave Attell, Tim Meadows, Nikki Glaser and Leslie Jones). There are several funny sexual scenes including one when Amy insists her blatantly closeted OCD CrossFit instructor (played by wrestler John Cena) talk to her during sex and another scene where she almost ends up screwing the magazine’s teenage intern.
Apatow continues his exploration into the world of relationships with this well-established ensemble which delivers not only killer laughs but also a palpable sense of affection. He lets the story take hold and the characters develop throughout with a mix of laughs and romance.
“Trainwreck” will resonate with a lot of folks and appeal to both sexes. If Apatow (director of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) was seeking to make another funny film that is also romantic and realistic about relationships, he's certainly succeeded once again.
Finally, a breath of fresh air arrives in this stale summer of superheroes films.
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