Comedian Amy Schumer has her first starring role in Trainwreck, the latest film from director Judd Apatow, and this movie heralds the arrival of a true movie star. This is the first time Apatow has directed a feature he didn't also write — Schumer took scripting duties on this one — and, coincidentally or not, it also might be Apatow's best movie. Trainwreck is consistently funny, but it's also a personal, emotional film that surprised me with its mixture of heart and hilarity.
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, LeBron James
As children, Amy (Schumer) and her sister (Brie Larson) are warned by their father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn't realistic, and it's a message Amy takes to heart: in her early thirties, she's still having one-night stands and avoiding real connections with men. The closest thing she has to a relationship is with Steven (WWE wrestler John Cena, who's surprisingly really funny here), and that goes down in flames when he realizes she's been sleeping with other guys behind his back. Amy writes for a men's magazine, and though Amy despises sports, her boss (Tilda Swinton) assigns her a story about a sports doctor named Aaron Connors (Bill Hader). The two hit it off, and in one of the film's many gender reversals, she starts to realize that maybe she needs to grow up a little bit in order to truly relate with someone.
Schumer will rightly earn a lot of praise for her performance, which is full of wonderfully funny moments but also some genuinely sad and emotional ones, too, and she's just as convincing in those scenes as the comedic ones. This might be Bill Hader's most well-rounded work; while he was awesome on SNL and in Apatow's previous comedies, he's a believable, authentic guy here, and he feels more like a real person than he has in anything save for the little-seen The Skeleton Twins. The supporting cast does a great job, too: people like Jon Glaser, Mike Birbiglia, and LeBron James do a lot with a little, and James in particular is pretty great as a version of himself that's BFFs with Hader's character.
I don't want to make it seem as if this movie is a huge reinvention of the genre because it isn't; it hits a lot of familiar beats, but Schumer puts such a fresh take on all of the little jokes and small moments (like a reversal of the Big Dramatic Gesture trope) that it results in an incredibly enjoyable experience. Honest, touching, and laugh out loud funny, Trainwreck is anything but.