Trainwreck – A collision of heart and humour

Considering his huge influence on American comedy, it’s surprising that Judd Apatow’s own directorial efforts are such a mixed bag. The 40- Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up were excellent but since then his films have been ambitious but flawed (Funny People) or slight and forgettable (This is 40). It is a real delight then to see him so obviously inspired by Trainwreck’s star, Amy Schumer, to create what is easily one of the best comedies of the year.

Fitting perfectly into Apatow’s profane chronicling of the American middle-class, Schumer is a revelation.  Few other performances this year have displayed as much real emotion and none have been as laugh out loud funny. Early on the film seems like it may buckle under the weight of Schumer’s character’s (also Amy) family struggles, career inertia and relationship struggles however it soon becomes clear that this is entirely the point. Amy’s life is messy and chaotic with each opportunity matched by its own tragedy. Who among us cannot relate to that.

The film even miraculously draws great performances out of its sports A-list cast members. Lebron James is hilarious as a thrifty but sentimental best friend to Bill Hader’s character whilst wrestler John Cena kills it as a soft hearted boyfriend of Schumer.

Like Amy herself the film isn’t perfect. Whilst Bill Hader’s sincere doctor is a like-ably stable counterpoint to Amy, his own ark is sidelined in the final act for hers. In addition, the film’s lengthy, improv-driven comedy style does tend -on occasion- to drag scenes out, slowing the pace. Despite these flaws however, Trainwreck effortlessly succeeds in combining humour with heart in a way in which few of Apatow’s many detractors have succeeded.  Lets hope he and Schumer work together again.

Peter Brearley

Images: abc News

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