You could always trust Amy Schumer to write a romantic comedy which bucked the trend and offered something different. Amy Schumer was never going to write a comedy where the female character was dependent on the lead male character to “sort her life out” and instead what we get is a much more “realistic” comedy that has characters which you can identify with.
Schumer is the Trainwreck of the title. She is a commitment-phobe, a flake with plans and really a terrible person when it comes to relationships. This isn’t necessarily new but what makes it unique here is that she is ok with this and isn’t looking to change. Aspects of her life don’t work as effectively as she’d like but she is “happy.” Already, within the first act of the movie, Trainwreck feels refreshing and you start to root for characters you really shouldn’t feel comfortable supporting.
It also helps that the male lead isn’t your typical romantic-comedy type. Bill Hader will never be considered the prototype leading man but that realism means he is cast perfectly here. He is a neurotic, successful physiotherapist with very famous friends but is hugely grounded. His character makes sense and the comedy here is that he wants to have a relationship with someone reluctant to commit.
That doesn’t sound particularly original but it is the fact that Schumer’s character is not going to change which makes this so compelling. Hader’s character is not going to “save” Schumer and that is never the point. What you get instead is a film where the central relationship seems doomed to fail and as it does slowly break-down, you can’t help but recognise the realism within.
This makes it sound fairly heavy but this isn’t Blue Valentine. Schumer writes a very funny movie which manages to take pot-shots at the idea of relationships and commitment. Her lines ae dark and the comedy is wry, something you’d expect from anything Schumer has written before. It isn’t just her character that gets the killer lines either, alongside Hader is some excellent, if somewhat random support.
John Cena plays Schumer’s muscle-bound but sensitive boyfriend and stretches his comedy legs very ably. He may steal the movie if not for an excellent Lebron James who plays himself, offering sound advice to Hader in a role usually reserved for the female best-friend. The only supporting character who doesn’t quite break-out is Tilda Swinton, who is fairly unrecognisable as Schumer’s inappropriate boss, the only character written slightly too broadly.
This is also the beginning of Trainwreck’s major issue. The film is a romantic-comedy and only has one destination to arrive at. This is the most predictable aspect of the movie and the finale plays out as you’d expect. It still has charm and some great humour but unfortunately, compared to the first two acts, it feel too familiar and safe.
Overall, Trainwreck manages to subvert the romantic-comedy tropes very well. Schumer has written characters which you recognise rather than stereotypes and the movie is better crafted because of it. The humour is clear, the support is very good but unfortunately the film suffers from “predictable third act.”
Rating – 4
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