August 31, 2015
Amy Schumer is a name I saw in American entertainment websites, but I did not know who she was. She gained her fame in TV comedies and I do not watch much TV. This film starring Amy Schumer is getting a lot of positive buzz. So when Ayala Cinemas gave it an exclusive screening this week, I decided to check it out to finally find out for myself what the fuss is all about.
Thanks to her father, Amy Townsend has long held the impression that monogamy does not exist. She is afraid of commitment and would rather go for one night stands or non-exclusive relationships. In her job as a writer for a men's magazine, Amy was assigned to interview Dr. Aaron Connors, an up-and-coming sports surgeon. Despite her aversion for sports, Amy finds herself actually falling for Dr. Aaron, but she cannot admit it to herself.
From the start of the film, you can immediately see why Amy Schumer is controversial. She does not the typical movie star beauty or body, which was actually refreshing. She is like a younger Melissa McCarthy, a street-smart modern woman unafraid to speak her mind, sexy talk and profanities included. Despite her wanton attitude to life, I actually liked this character she portrayed. I liked her sentimental devotion to her father in spite of his shortcomings, and this shows that her heart is in the right place. However unlikely that final dance scene was, I found it totally delightful and showed Amy at her most vulnerable and beautiful.
Amy has a fine ensemble of actors behind her. I am also not familiar as to who Bill Hader was very much because I do not get to see "Saturday Night Live". This is my first film to see him in a prominent featured role. He was very likable, sincere and charming in his wry portrayal of a doctor in love with the most unlikely girl. Tilda Swinton was not immediately recognizable as Amy's boss at the magazine Dianna. Brie Larson played Amy's sister Kim, with whom she was constantly at odds when it comes to matters about their father. Colin Quinn's few scenes as their father Gordon were quite well-played as well.
I was actually more pleasantly surprised with the performances of the star athletes who got to play extended cameo roles in this film. They actually upstaged the real actors. Pro wrestling superstar John Cena played Steven, Amy's sentimental muscle-bound boyfriend who loves indie films. Cena pulls off his caricature of a character and gives it a sensitive soul. Even more remarkable was basketball superstar LeBron James, who played himself as a close friend of Dr. Connors. Based on prior times I have seen him act, I was expecting him to be wooden. However, James' performance turned out to be very effective and affecting, he was very good here.
Director Judd Apatow is right in his niche of relationship comedies, although this is the first time he is directing something he did not write himself. Amy Schumer wrote this script to reverse the usual tropes, showing how women can also be commitment-phobes and insensitive jerks. The novelty was certainly interesting.
On the surface, "Trainwreck" may seem like just another raunchy sex comedy. Yes, this is rated R-18, so some sexually-explicit scenes and language may not sit well with more conservative audiences. However, as you are watching it, you will definitely feel the heart that beats within it. 7/10.