Two things are irrefutable: Amy Schumer can write and she can act; expertly carrying this biting, consistently hilarious rom-com on her shoulders.

Amy Townsend (Schumer) is a thirty-something writer in New York working at monthly ‘lifestyle’ magazine Snuff (where articles range from ‘does garlic make your semen taste better’, to ‘how to jerk off at work’ and ‘ugliest celebrity kids’). Commitment phobe and a certified party girl, Amy’s attitude towards love and monogamy are loose at best.  

In a telling flashback at the beginning of the film, we see Amy’s dad (Colin Quinn) lecture his two daughters, stating that remaining with just one person for life is not feasible. Amy has taken it literally while her sister Kim (Brie Larson) has gone the other way and settled down in the suburbs with as straight laced a guy as she could possibly find.

When we meet Amy, she’s indulging in drunken one night stands and ‘dating’ meathead gym freak Steven (John Cena – an absolute hoot) who may or not may not be gay and shouts out things like “I want to fill you with my protein” during sex.  Amy is not particularly interested in this courtship evolving beyond the odd hook-up and swiftly moves on. 

Her editor at work, Dianna (an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton) chooses Amy to cover a profile on celebrated sports surgeon Aaron Connors (Bill Hader). With no knowledge of sport and a weak constitution for the more grisly aspects of Aaron’s job, they don’t get off to the best start but Bill is drawn to Amy and pursues her for a date.  

Aaron’s confidante in the film is NBA superstar, LeBron James, who tries to guide his friend through Amy’s more abrupt and emotionless attitudes towards intimacy. In what could have been a blatant bit of stunt casting, James proves to be a gifted comedian and totally game.  The scene in which he lets Amy know he won’t tolerate her messing his friend about is beautifully staged and played.

From here, Amy and Aaron navigate their differences and the film shifts gear, slightly, into more traditional rom-com territory.  The sub-plot involving Amy and Kim’s dad and his deteriorating health and the strain it puts on both women is well judged (I found myself tearing up during one key scene that suggests Schumer could be as adept a dramatic performer as she is comedic).

Trainwreck is mainly played for laughs and the humour is broad (if you watch Schumer’s excellent Comedy Central sketch show, Inside Amy Schumer you’ll have an idea of what to expect) but she is a smart screenwriter and generates enough credibility and familiarity to make you really care about this couple and extended characters.  

Amy may be a bit of a nightmare on occasion but there is an emotional truth to her and her unapologetic attitude towards sex, relationships, drinking etc are refreshing but, as in life, ultimately unsustainable when you a reach a certain point. In this instance, the loss of a loved one, is a catalyst for change and introspection. 

Hader is not necessarily the first choice for romantic leading man but he absolutely nails it. He’s a terrific comedian but it’s the warmth and understated likeability he generates here that really lends weight to the love story.  Swinton has a ball as the Lidl Anna Wintour while Brie Larson is just lovely as Kim. 

Ultimately, this is Schumer’s show and it’s truly an auspicious cinematic bow. She creates a three-dimensional, hilarious, whip smart, flawed, generous character that is both relatable, memorable and wildly entertaining. She deserves to be remembered come Oscar time for both her performance and top notch script. 


Matt Williams


Trainwreck is in UK cinemas on August 14th

Niki Alexandrou

Niki Alexandrou

Niki Alexandrou

Latest posts by Niki Alexandrou (see all)