“Trainwreck” is Judd Apatow’s best to date and Amy Schumer deserves awards attention

trainwreck judd apatow amy schumer

I’ve pretty much always had a good feeling about Trainwreck, ever since it was announced that it would be Judd Apatow’s next film. I love Apatow’s writing, but if he was going to direct someone else’s script, Amy Schumer was the perfect choice. She would be making her leading lady and feature screenwriting debut, something I’d also been anticipating. Everything seemed poised for a great comedy, but I somehow underestimated them. Not only is Trainwreck a modern romantic comedy classic, it’s just as sharply edged as Schumer’s Comedy Central variety show Inside Amy Schumer, and it has surprising dramatic depths to mine as well. In a perfect world, this would be an Oscar contender in multiple categories. It hits this weekend and is just brilliantly well done.

The plot is pretty simple, fitting in with its romantic comedy trappings. This is no ordinary rom com though. Schumer stars as Amy, a modern career woman who doesn’t believe in monogamy, spurred on by her father at an early age. Her sister Kim has a husband and new family, but Amy keeps everything casual, including her sexual encounters. Things are thrown for a loop when the magazine she works for assigns her to write about a sports surgeon that she begins to develop feelings for. He’s just as into her and wants a relationship, though that goes against everything she stands for. We then watch as she fights against all of her impulses, with hilarity ensuing. This may seem like a basic story, but it’s all in the details of the sharp script. Schumer start and wrote the screenplay, while Apatow produces and directs. The brilliant ensemble cast includes Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, John Cena, Colin Quinn, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, Mike Birbiglia, and many more. All are excellent, making this perhaps the best ensemble of 2015 so far.

I was blown away by Schumer. Not only is she aces as a comedic actress and a writer, which we knew already, but she shows some dramatic skills that are quite phenomenal. There’s a speech she gives that will actually bring a tear to your eye. She’s the highlight of course, but she also creates tons of great roles for her co-stars, with unlikely comedic highlights in non-actors Cena and James, not to mention a moving turn by Quinn. Swinton is a scene stealer as well, while Larson continues to show that she’s going to be a big star before long. Everyone from Hader as her main co-star on down gets at least one or two moments with which to shine.

Apatow seamlessly crosses coasts and makes his first feature set in New York perhaps his best one yet. Not only does he manage his eclectic cast so well (who knew that James was so gifted as comic relief?), he has a tighter handle on the material than ever before. Apatow has often been criticized for letting his films run on a bit too long. I never really agreed with that, particularly in the cases of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, but I somewhat saw that in the case of Funny People (while still adoring it and seeing it as his most underrated work) and definitely had my enjoyment of This is 40 partially affected by a bloated running time. Here, he paces things perfectly makes it so that you’d have watched another 10 or 15 minutes without question. Part of it is Schumer’s script, but Apatow is working on another level her.

In terms of awards, I think this one deserves to be a player, though nature as a raunchy comedy will probably limit Trainwreck to the Golden Globes or bust. It should really be a contender for Best Comedy, Best Actor in a Comedy (for Hader), Best Actress in a Comedy (for Schumer), Best Director, and Best Screenplay. In terms of Oscar though, everything except maybe Best Original Screenplay is a long shot. Best case scenario is a Bridesmaids type situation, where the script is nominated along with a performance. I don’t think Schumer will wind up making the cut in Best Actress, but she deserves it. Honestly, Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay is where the targeted campaign should go, since nothing else will be like it all season.

Overall, Trainwreck is a phenomenally entertaining film and one of my absolute favorites of the year so far. In fact, it may very well be my number one of 2015 to date. That’s how effective Apatow and Schumer are. It’s really something to behold. The movie is a must see, so be sure to check it out on Friday. You won’t regret it one bit, I can assure you of that much. Trainwreck is the best comedy this year and perhaps of the last few years. It works on every single level. This deserves to do as well as Bridesmaids on all fronts, if not even better…

Don’t miss Trainwreck, in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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