Comedy kingpin Judd Apatow returns to directorial duties with alternative rom-com Trainwreck. This is the first time the This is 40 helmsman has not written a film he has directed, with US comic Amy Schumer penning the script. With Apatow’s love of relationship-centric comedy and Schumer’s sharp tongue and relatable persona, this comedic hook-up feels like an extremely well-fitted match for a film soaked in dirty one-liners and family dilemmas. Based loosely on the new Queen of American comedy’s life, this unconventional tale also stars former Saturday Night Live favourite Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn and an unrecognisable turn from Tilda Swinton.
Amy (Schumer) is a commitment-phobe with a history of one-night stands and a liking for the party lifestyle. Her shag-happy father, Gordon (Quinn), instilled in her and sister Kim (Larson), from an early age that monogamy wasn’t realistic – a statement Amy lives by. The 30-something journalist looks to break the habit of a lifetime when she falls for nice guy sports doc, Aaron (Hader). A ‘normal’ relationship is a foreign prospect for the well-oiled man-eater and changing her ‘pattern’ – with her past (and messy present) lingering heavily in the background – may be harder than she feared.
Trainwreck‘s a film soaked in filth and doesn’t look to skim over the awkwardness of it all. A genuinely laugh-out-loud sketch-like experience grounded with well examined daddy-daughter issues, sisterly squabbles and work-life pressures – orchestrated by a bitch-tastic Tilda Swinton as magazine editor, Dianna, with a dodgy English accent – that gives Schumer’s story a convincing backbone among all its sexually-explicit silliness and sports-based product placements.
Apatow – whose last outing, This is 40 – ironically dubbed by some critics as ’40 Minutes Too Long’ – knows how to drag a scene out to irritable clock-watching effect. It’s an annoying habit not exempt from his latest offering – yet a somewhat tiresome third act can not distract from a film laced in sex-heavy, explicitly-laiden, Bill Hader goodness and the most enjoyable celebrity cameos (John Cena and LeBron James) since Liam Neeson’s film-stealing outing in the otherwise disappointing Ted 2.
It’s a refreshing spectacle to see a female-led comedic outing flipping the conventional male-driven rom-com mould on its boorish head. Unashamedly (and so it should be) dealing with female sexualisation in a relevant – and enjoyably bold – manner, led by a no-nonsense lead in the shape of Schumer, Trainwreck may not be the revolutionary romance flick many believe, buts it’s deeper – and a hell of a lot funnier – than most of its 21st century counterparts.