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Monday, April 15, 2024

Last weekend’s release of the comedy film “Trainwreck” solidified Amy Schumer as this year’s breakthrough comedian. Although not everyone can digest Schumer’s typical stand-up routines, most audiences will laud her writing and performance in her big-screen debut.

Directed by the genre’s own Judd Apatow, the flick stars Schumer as a magazine writer who consistently parties and hooks up with strangers, a character not too far from her real self and who even shares her name. 

Under her father’s insistence that “monogamy isn’t realistic,” Schumer barrels through relationships until she fatefully gets assigned to write an article on sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). 

After she realizes the fondness she has for him may be mutual, Amy begins to question and challenge her lifelong ideas about being with only one partner.

If that sounds a little too romantic, no worries — there’s tons of vulgar jokes, drug references and sex scenes to keep families seeing a cartoon movie in the next theater over. 

Schumer and Hader’s typical R-rated shtick transfers over well, and despite neither being usual lead material, the two keep the film afloat and deliver fresh performances. 

Adding to the humor are peculiar co-workers, a brash and unrecognizable Tilda Swinton cameo, features from sports legends LeBron James and John Cena, and an awkward dad-and-son duo that conjures up thoughts of awful sweater vests.

Outside its humorous appeal, “Trainwreck” also isn’t afraid to touch on more serious subject matters. Clearly relationships are among the dissected issues, but so are family connections and death. 

Although some of the plot lines almost seem superficial among penis jokes, they do serve to add a little more depth to the characters’ experiences and personalities. 

The character of Amy even undergoes a bit of a feminist arc, and gender expectations get twisted in that the male characters are over-the-top sensitive — two refreshing inclusions in Schumer’s racy script.

Over-performing in the weekend box office with earnings of $30.2 million, “Trainwreck” proves to be Hollywood’s latest comedic gem. 

It challenges hackneyed rom-com devices but keeps with basic elements, and its many one-liners and exaggerated scenes allow for the movie to leave a lasting impression — even if that impression is just John Cena wearing only a small cloth.

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[A version of this story ran on page 12 on 7/23/15]

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