ByStephen Sbiroli, writer at
I give my thoughts on a variety of films; what works and what doesn't.
Stephen Sbiroli

The summer can be a slow time for comedy, and 2015 has not given us a lot to be excited about in that regard. Pixels is an unmitigated disaster, and Josh Trank's The Fantastic Four isn't even funny in its awfulness, so where are the laughs this summer? Well, no look no further than Trainwreck, Judd Apatow's latest raunchy, adult rom-com starring and written by the comedy dynamo that is Amy Schumer.

Schumer stars alongside Bill Hader and, strangely enough, LeBron James in this witty, raunchy, and fairly cynical look into monogamy. Schumer's character is a commitment-phobic, borderline alcoholic, and overtly sexual woman who writes for a shallow men's magazine. However, her flighty dating patterns are suddenly altered when she meets Hader's character, a prominent doctor of sports medicine whom she is writing a story about for her magazine. A barrage of SNL cast members and professional athletes round out the cast to make for a truly hilarious movie that features Schumer's edgy, relatable comic observations about sex and dating, and pretty much anything else you'd expect from a romantic comedy nowadays, except for one huge difference.

When we think of people who drink a lot, sleep around, and are afraid of commitment, especially in the context of a rom-com, we tend to think of men. Men are often portrayed as the more childish and immature of the two in a heterosexual couple, but here we see the opposite. Hader's character is much more down-to-earth, reserved, and mature than Schumer, who smokes a lot of marijuana and shows visible panic at the thought of having children anytime soon, or even getting married. Now, simply taking character tropes and gender-bending them doesn't necessarily mean this film is breaking any new ground thematically, but where it does succeed is in its relatability. Yes, Schumer has an elaborate apology scene that melts Hader's heart instead of the man apologizing to the woman (oh come on, that's not a spoiler), but the reversal of the lead in the film isn't what makes this interesting. It's the little details she gives about sexual and dating experiences that women can relate to, and may have never heard put into words before, that are funny because women can relate, and men can learn something new about from a woman's perspective. Take, for example, Schumer's sex scene with her previous interest, a muscle-headed bro named Steven, played by John Cena (yes, JOHN CEEENAAAA!). It's awkward when he tries to talk dirty to her (at her request), it's shot from each of their perspectives, and when he climaxes, he is completely immobilized for a solid twenty seconds or so. It's funny, it's satirical, and it's relatable.

Then, of course, there's the story. Yes, it's a tad weak and overplayed, and the non-humorous dialogue tells a little more than it shows, but it's not setting out to be anything too thought-provoking or unique, it's just funny. Schumer's argument with Hader about him "going down on her too much" because he wants to "seem giving," and then her immediate shutdown of his suggestion that he go down on her less, is funny. That's a topic that many women may be thinking but never say, and many men may hear and think "oh sh*t, she caught me." It's moments like these that show how raunchy humor can work, and makes up for some of the more self-indulgent or cliché moments of the film.

As far as acting goes, I was very satisfied. Schumer showed some real moments of sincerity at her father's funeral (again, not really a spoiler), and has good dramatic tension with Hader, her sister (Brie Larson), and others. However, if there's one thing you've probably heard about this movie, it's that LeBron James' performance in this film is shockingly good, and it is. I didn't know what to expect when I heard the glowing reviews for his role in this movie, but he surprised me. He handles his lines like a champ to create a version of himself that is cheap, overprotective as a friend, and hilariously sensitive. Also, John Cena as a muscleheaded, sensitive guy with homoerotic tendencies is another hilarious addition to the cast.

Overall, Trainwreck succeeds in three important aspects: flipping gender stereotypes in film in a way that is natural and honest, exploring the hilarious and awkward nature of adult dating, and being just plain funny. It won't challenge you to look deeper into your existence, but it'll make you laugh, and when it's done in smart, non-pandering ways, that's all a comedy needs to do.


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