Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Rated: R

STARS: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire
DIRECTOR: Judd Apatow
GENRE: Romantic Comedy

If anything, the Amy Schumer vehicle, Trainwreck, will be remembered as the movie that turned sports legends LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire into comedic actors!  They pick up a surprising amount of "playing time" in this satirical romantic comedy written by Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Bridesmaids).

As of late, Amy Schumer has grown in stature (if not baby fat) to be one of our most popular comics, her onstage routines embracing all things sexual and perverse in that deadpan self-deprecating style. She blows the cover off the blonde all-American girl next door to reveal what we secretly suspected all along--that she has a dirty mind. Trainwreck is her attempt at branching out from being typecast as a potty-mouthed one trick pony into something of a serious (at times) actor, with mixed results.

Not all of the humor flies, but enough of it does to keep theater audiences tittering at regular intervals. Schumer--playing a girl named Amy--is a writer for a Cosmo/National Enquirer type magazine, assigned by her snarky boss (Tilda Swinton) to do an interview piece with sports surgeon to the star athletes, Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). The stage is set for these two to fall for each other, but Amy has been a boozer and a naughty girl, going through men like they were bon-bons on Valentine's Day, and she naturally begins to mistrust her unaccustomed feelings of giddy attraction.

One of the cuter sketches is where Schumer turns the tables, doing a parody on men who can't stand to spend the entire night with their one night stands. Placing a pillow between them to mark her territory after she and Conners have officially become bed-buddies is just the start of some clever and funny OCD playing out between them.

NBA mega-star LeBron James heads up a contingent of sports personalities who are clients of Conners.  James displays some decent acting chops along with his phenomenal athletic prowess in some extended screen time that shows Amy Schumer did not intend to train the spotlight solely upon herself.  Amare  Stoudemire also gets more than a cameo role, in a scene where a distracted and addled Conners is preparing to operate on the athlete's knee, but Stoudemire decides he wants no part of it and clambers out of his hospital bed, staggering down the hall and going BOOM!

Another surprising sketch has tennis legend Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick, sportscaster Marv Albert, and LeBron James all together riffing off one another. CHRIS EVERT EVEN UTTERS A NAUGHTY WORD!  

Never saw that train coming.  

Grade:  B


Wow. Tim pretty much covered all the bases in this R-rated romp. If he hadn't already gone there, I was planning to praise LeBron's acting chops. He had a lot of zippy dialog and interacted well with both Hader and Schumer. Trust me, it won't be the last time we see him on screen. (Let's hope he's better at it than former athlete-turned-actor Jim Brown!)

I was also planning to mention Schumer's zaftig bod – well not exactly zaftig – as a realistic alternative to the usual anorexic actresses we watch doing the sexy. (Or, god forbid, Melissa McCarthy!) Her character's potty mouth and one-night-standish behavior may not be the norm but her figure sure is.

I guess the only other thing Tim didn't mention was Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," played throughoutTrainwreck, because it's   Hader's character's favorite song to perform during surgery. Wonder what BJ got paid for letting them use it?

Sadly, I didn't enjoy this flick nearly as much as director Judd Aptow's other two contenders: The 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Knocked Up. It felt forced in places and played-for-laughs rather than reality. Maybe my objectivity was compromised because I couldn't find parking for nearly half an hour! (God bless southern California...)

Grade: C +