Leading lady Amy Schumer might have brought some freshness to “Trainwreck.” Instead, the film is more of the same from director Judd Apatow, with his usual formula of raunchy meets sweet.
In her day job, Schumer is a standup comic and the star of Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer.” Schumer’s acting credits include HBO’s “Girls” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Apatow is the writer, director and producer responsible for such movie hits as “Bridesmaids,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up.”
Even though Schumer has sole writer’s credit for “Trainwreck,” the movie follows the Apatow playbook.
Schumer, Apatow and their “Trainwreck” cast produce some laughs. But the predictable, sugary-sweet story gets stale.
Schumer’s character, also named Amy, is a writer at a New York City-based men’s magazine that’s roughly in the Maxim mode. Scenes of the magazine’s staff meetings reach for the satirical. The well-cast British actress Tilda Swinton co-stars as the publication’s imperious, disingenuous editor, Diana. But the journalistic world portrayed in “Trainwreck” doesn’t register as real or funny.
The most amusing part of “Trainwreck” may be its opening scene. It’s a flashback to the girlhood of Amy and her younger sister, Kim. Veteran comic-curmudgeon Colin Quinn plays the girls’ philandering father, Gordon. His rationalization for being unfaithful to their mother sets a madcap precedent that the rest of the film can’t match.
Quinn shows up later as an older, ailing, but still rascally Gordon. When the character abruptly departs the story, Quinn’s comic energy is instantly missed.
Schumer’s Amy, unlike her married sister, takes her sexually promiscuous father as a role model. Amy prefers one-night stands. No second dates, please.
According to movie formula, Amy is a woman on the cusp of redemption. Her path to becoming a one-man woman arrives with a magazine assignment. She’s to write a profile of Dr. Aaron Conners, surgeon to the sports stars.
Amy’s subject for the assignment finds himself attracted to her. Because playing by the rules, including journalistic ethics, has never been Amy’s forte, she gets involved with him.
Playing Conners, former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bill Hader gives an unusually bland performance. After playing so many crazy characters at “SNL,” he’s seriously miscast in “Trainwreck.”
But a real sports world figure does the worst acting in “Trainwreck.” Playing himself, NBA star LeBron James co-stars as Dr. Conners’ best friend. His beyond wooden performance scores no points.
“Trainwreck,” flying in the face of the Schumer character’s initial independence, goes astray most of all because it sheepishly slips into romantic-comedy formula. In the end, it’s just an old-fashioned, and not-so-good, love story.