2015 is a banner year for Amy Schumer: as her TV show gathers even more mainstream popularity, she also debuts as a big-screen leading lady – in a movie she wrote herself, no less. Too bad Trainwreck, despite its charms, is such a formulaic romantic comedy.
Hitting all the marks in this moribund genre, Trainwreck has Schumer playing Amy, one of those only-in-the-movies New Yorkers who works as a writer for a hip magazine, has a spacious apartment, is close to her family, dates constantly, and is having so much fun that she refuses to be tied down to a relationship.
The twist? Movie-Amy, though hardly a trainwreck, is still a terrible person.
The periodical she writes for specializes in obnoxious content (sample article: "You're Not Gay, She's Boring") and her coworkers are awful, especially her hilariously callous editor, played by an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton. Her best friend is her MS-stricken dad (Colin Quinn, technically old enough to play Schumer's father, but a weirdly young choice for the role) who was once a serial philanderer and is now just a toxic old bigot. And needless to say, Amy acts like a heel with all her dates, refusing to even sleep over – not even with her sort-of-steady boyfriend (wrestler John Cena, who endures an endless series of gay panic jokes). What do these guys see in her?
Here comes the plot: When asked to write a profile about sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader), an inarguably wonderful guy who takes a shine to Amy immediately, will our booze-swilling, weed-smoking heroine learn to give up her selfish ways and actually commit? Smart money says yes, but not after the usual girl-meets-boy, girl-loses-boy, girl-fights-to-get-boy-back routine.
I don't want to sound like I disliked Trainwreck. In fact Schumer is a solid lead who pulls out some surprising emotional punches, both as a writer and as an actress. Hader is perfectly charming in his part. And the cast in general is great. Both Schumer and Apatow are very democratic filmmakers, and it's cool that they worked to give nearly every actor in the movie, no matter how small the part, his or her own funny line – a little moment of glory for everyone, including NBA star LeBron James and 100-year-old screen veteran Norman Lloyd.
See Trainwreck if you love a good old-fashioned rom-com and you don't get turned off by vulgar language. I found a couple good solid laughs (but not as many as I expected) and was genuinely moved in a couple of scenes, for I am a sap at heart. But for all the buzz that Schumer has garnered for her creativity and razor-sharp wit, I expected something less by-the-numbers.