Step 1: Applaud the hotter-than-hot Amy Schumer. Trainwreck puts our new favorite person squarely on the movie map, showcasing her exquisite sense of humor in a poignant and sweet romantic comedy.
Step 2: Ask “Is Amy really a trainwreck?” The title of Schumer’s big-screen debut is a little misleading, however, because Schumer’s character, also named Amy, isn’t your traditional idea of a trainwreck. You know, the kind of person who self destructs every chance they get. Sure, Amy drinks and smokes pot a lot and makes a fair amount of bad choices, but she is also really good at her job writing for a raunchy men’s magazine and never gets totally out of control. In fact, Amy’s life is exactly how she wants it to be, and she is not going off the rails.
Step 3: Get to the real point. You see, the only issue Amy has is with monogamy; she doesn’t care for it much. Her dad (Colin Quinn) put the concept “We aren’t meant to be with just one person the rest of our lives” into Amy’s head when she was a young girl, and Amy has pretty much stuck to that way of thinking for most of her adult life. One-night stands are her forte and she fully embraces the idea of kicking the guy out of bed almost immediately after sex. Her younger sister, Kim (Brie Larsen), didn’t buy into their dad’s philosophy and is now married and a mom, something that boggles Amy’s mind. Yet, everything changes when Amy is assigned to do a story on a sports medicine doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader), who is probably one of the nicest guys on the planet and who Amy has a fairly immediate connection to. She resists and tries to brush him off, but Aaron is persistent and before she knows it, Amy finds herself falling in love with him. This, too, boggles her mind.
Step 4: Embrace the formula. The rom-com mantra of “will they?” or “won’t they?” or “will Amy bolt because that’s what she always does” is ever present, but because Schumer and Hader are so good together, in many different quirky ways, they sell the staid idea. Hader, in particular, proves himself a very charming leading man, which surprises since we’re so used to him being goofy side players in movies, like the guy who manages the pool or the cop who isn’t very good at his job. Or he’s the wacky voice-over guy. But here, he complements Schumer in so many wonderful ways that we’re hoping they become the next on-screen duo, doing more movies together.
Step 5: Marvel at the non-actors. Most of the supporting players in Trainwreck are also fantastic, including Vanessa Bayer and Randall Park as Amy’s work co-horts and an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as Amy’s self-absorbed boss. Swinton actually gets to be glam – no wigs or fake teeth but blown-out hair, makeup and a spray tan – and of course, totally nails it. And in the “who knew they could act?” category, WWE star John Cena cracks you up as one of Amy’s more steady booty calls, while basketball legend LeBron James hilariously shines, playing himself and Aaron’s best friend. James just wants Aaron to find the love he deserves, and he makes sure Amy knows it. We’re pretty sure James won’t give up his day job, but he’s gonna make more movies. Guaranteed.
Step 6: Expect more heart in a raunchy comedy. Schumer penned the script and has said it’s very personal to her, as the story also shows how Amy and her sister deal with their father, who is living in an assisted facility. Quinn does a nice job playing this offensive dad, who has never said the right thing, ever, to his girls, but still tries to love them the best way he can. There are genuine tender moments in Trainwreck, with Schumer showing some surprising acting chops. Maybe the only small issue with the film is Judd Apatow’s direction. Not that he doesn’t understand comedy or know exactly how to bring it out of his actors, but more how he never wants to cut the film up. An Apatow production runs long, as in the case with Trainwreck, but because Schumer and the gang are so fffing hysterical, it’s okay. Honestly, tears will be flowing from both laughter and poignancy. Trainwreck just works, from start to finish.