*This is a reprint of our 2015 SXSW review
Take it from the effervescently crass mouth of Amy Schumer, “The title was always Trainwreck. Trainwreck or Cum Dumpster.” Oh Amy, you are such just so…you. From talk radio appearances to gross-out Twitter posts, the Schum has crafted her image on being unapologetically, oh-so-adorably crude and in the context of Trainwreck, it’s miraculous to take in. At last night’s premiere, when an audience member inundated her with compliments, she barked, “Stop trying to fuck me.” She has swiftly become the epitome of 21st century feminism-as-middle finger; the crème de la crème of vagina jokes and reverse slut shaming that will melt the lipstick off housewives and zap the calories off your finger sandwiches with her gloriously nasty one-liners and hysterically sexual non-sequiturs.
In Judd Apatow‘s latest dramedy – a surprisingly straight-and-narrow rom-com that is not-so-surprisingly wonderful – Schumer gets a platform and a microphone and pelts out her lone-wolf POV, spraying her would-be targets with lewd bullets like certain rooftop sniper in Nation’s Pride. It’s a welcome return to form for the director and a dazzling welcoming party for the increasingly popular female figure. With her feature film debut, Schumer has proved that both as a writer and an actress, she is an essential female voice that is wholly needed to jar open the jaws of Hollywood.
Befitting a movie titled Trainwreck, Schumer is an unprofessional professional working in the high stakes world of click-bait journalism. Her editor (an – once again – unrecognizable Tilda Swinton) dishes out assignments covering “Ugliest Celebrity Babies Under 6,” “Are You Really Gay or is She Just Boring” and “The Effects of Garlic on the Taste of Semen.” In her off-time, Schumer drinks, smokes pot and carves notches into the proverbial belt, even while dating dunce strongman Steven (an absolutely hysterical John Cena).
For her distaste of sports (“I just think everyone who likes sports is a lesser human being”) Amy is assigned an expose on sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader) who has implemented a “game-changing” knee surgery that will have athletes recovering in half the time they might under normal circumstances. Raised under her father’s (Collin Quinn) unconventional wisdom that monogamy is futile, Amy nevertheless finds herself swooning over Aaron’s intelligent but everyman ways, even if he is a little boring. The existing conflict between Amy’s heavy-drinking, loose-lipped mannerisms and Hader’s perpetually flabbergasted reactions to her inappropriate verisimilitudes is ripe with comedy and genuine sentiment.
Stuffed to the gills with phenomenal supporting characters and guest appearances – the far-too-infrequently-appearing Quinn and his drunken daddy routine; a randy, underage Ezra Miller; the always alluring and dramatically competent Brie Larson; hilariously dorky newcomer Evan Brinkman; the inspired but under-utilized combination of Randall Park and Jon Glaser; sign-wielding hobo Dave Attell; Noman Lloyd‘s uproariously out-of-touch geriatric; and a completely out-of-left-field but entirely winning LeBron James as an effeminate concerned best friend-type – Trainwreck is a non-stop barrage of comedy that’ll have you gulping for air between deep shrieks and wiping away streaky tears of laughter.
Considered a “work in progress”, at two hours, Trainwreck is already more trim than most Apatow films – his last two films clocked in at 134 and 153 minutes – so I don’t imagine the final product will look dramatically different from the iteration we were screened here at SXSW. Although a few scenes could be trimmed down to achieve even greater comedic effect, the work as is is masterfully crafted, putting Apatow’s command over comedy and drama back into the spotlight after a notable quality slippage in his material of late. Perhaps it took the inspiration of a new writer in Schumer or a whole new stable of actors to work with but, whatever it was, Apatow is back on top of the comedy world.