Trainwreck

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Laura Clifford 
Trainwreck

Robin Clifford 

Having had it drilled into her head by her dad, Amy (writer Amy Schumer, TV's 'Inside Amy Schumer') doesn't believe in monogamy.  The hearty partier is also not into sports, which is a challenge when the S’Nuff magazine writer is sent to profile straight arrow sports doctor Aaron Conners (SNL's Bill Hader, "The Skeleton Twins"), but not as much as the one she faces when she realizes just how much he's into her "Trainwreck."

Laura:
Current 'It' girl Amy Schumer's stamp is the more discernable one in director Judd Apatow's fifth feature, a romantic comedy with something to say buoyed by a lot of heart.  The film isn't satiric like her Comedy Central show, nor as raunchy as one might expect, instead stuffed with insightful observations and a deliciously assembled supporting cast.  Playing himself, Lebron James has secured a post NBA career with his natural delivery and self-deprecating humor and Tilda Swinton, looking like Jodie Foster's double and acting like a low rent Miranda Priestly, is hilarious, but it's Bill Hader who steals the show with his warmth, humanity and surprising sexiness.

Schumer has taken a lot of inspiration from her own life, like her MS afflicted father and more 'normal' sister.  She kicks off with a flashback, SNL's Colin Quinn ("Grown Ups") killing a metaphorical explanation to his two little girls as to why he, Gordon, is divorcing their mother.  We meet up with Amy Townshend 23 years later, where she's a high functioning alcoholic up for an editor's position at S'Nuff.  On her off time, she consistently cheats on her regular boyfriend Steven (WWE superstar John Cena) and, with her sister Kim (Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"), is dealing with getting dad into assisted living while treating Kim's husband Tom (Mike Birbiglia, "Sleepwalk With Me") and stepson Allister (Evan Brinkman) like freaks.  Kim accuses of her of dating dumb guys to avoid commitment.  Kim happens to be right and she's beginning to lose patience with Amy's aggressive defensive tactics.

When Aaron asks Amy out, he certainly notices that she likes her drink, but he's drawn to her nonetheless.  They click.  Not having had a lot of experience with the opposite sex, he's overwhelmed by her sexual come on and confused by her rejection of his post-coital cuddling. Spurred on by Lebron, he calls her the next day, thoroughly confusing her.  Before she knows what's hit her, Amy's in a relationship.  And she likes it.

Romantic comedies demand a third act obstacle and it is to Schumer's credit that she doesn't go easy on herself, two selfish acts played for character definition over comedy (Miami Heat's Amar'e Stoudemire provides that with the cuddling Conners had been craving).  The film has an adorable wrap up in Madison Square Garden, one of many similarities to the 1979 Burt Reynold's romcom "Starting Over," whose lovers reunited at the Boston Garden.

Schumer's adept writing captures everything that's wrong with media content through Amy's job, providing instant classic put downs for Swinton's Dianna.  Her own blunt observations may be funny, but they also point to Amy's self absorption.  She's lovingly made Gordon a man with offensive traits who is difficult to dislike (and Amy's eulogy for him is one for the ages).  She's even concocted a film-within-the-film, "The Dogwalker" starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei, which pops up twice to comment upon the action.  Not everything works - an 'intervention' staged by Lebron with Chris Evert (herself), Matthew Broderick (himself) and Marv Albert (himself) stops the movie in its tracks - but she slam dunks most of the time.

Hader and Lebron are almost as much a couple here as Hader and Schumer, a one-on-one game between the two a great show of physical comedy (and Hader's incredible acting focus). The film also stars SNL's Vanessa Bayer, 'Fresh Off the Boat's' Randall Park and Jon Glaser of HBO's 'Girls' as Amy's coworkers, Ezra Miller ("We Need to Talk About Kevin") as her kinky, underaged intern and centenarian Norman Lloyd ("In Her Shoes") as Gordon's senior home cohort.  Dan Soder is amusing as a homeless guy who comments on Amy's comings and goings.

Billy Joel's 'Uptown Girl' is used as Aaron's theme song.  Like much of "Trainwreck" it works on multiple levels.

Grade:  B+

Robin:
Robin did not see this film.
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