Of Vice and Men

Trainwreck

by Hope Madden

Ten years ago, The 40-Year-Old Virgin introduced the new voice of cinematic comedy. A decade later, 40 writer/director Judd Apatow is – for the first time – directing a film he didn’t write. Why? Because there’s a new sheriff in town and Apatow has the clout to ensure that the next voice in cinematic comedy gets heard.

Trainwreck is the bawdy, wise, hilarious, about-fucking-time romantic comedy written by and starring Amy Schumer. Startlingly honest and utterly lacking in pretension, she followed up years of refreshingly raw stand-up comedy by destroying cable TV with her brilliant Inside Amy Schumer. (YouTube 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer immediately to see just how savvy a writer she is.)

She and Apatow collaborate on this sometimes touching, boisterously funny upending of rom-com clichés. (As Amy narrates the lovey-dovey montage backdropped by the Manhattan skyline, even she finds it cloying, quipping, “I hope this love montage ends like Jonestown.”)

Schumer plays Amy, a heavy drinking, sexually active (very active) writer for a magazine that runs stories like “How Does Eating Garlic Change the Taste of Semen?” and “You’re Not Gay, She’s Boring.” Her editor – the ever glorious Tilda Swinton – assigns her a piece on a sports doctor (Bill Hader), and Amy is reluctantly pulled into the world of monogamy.

The screenwriting is ingenious. This is a role reversal romantic comedy, basically, but it’s far too crafty to rely on that as a gimmick. On the surface, Amy’s the same protagonist trapped in an extended adolescence that has become commonplace in Apatow’s filmography, but there is no denying Schumer’s ability to find something new and authentic to bring to the mix.

She’s aided by an impeccable cast. Bill Hader has quickly become one of the most versatile and authentic actors of the SNL alum. Swinton’s magnificent, LeBron James is deadpan hilarious and a very good sport, as is John Cena, and Dave Attell is a hoot. Cameos galore draw belly laughs in a comedy that has something to say underneath hundreds of well-aimed gags.

Trainwreck might be the best romantic comedy since Bull Durham.

Verdict-4-0-Stars

Weekend Countdown: Hard Labor for Labor Day

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and we’ve decided to take a mo and celebrate the hardest labor of all. The pregnant kind. Here are our five favorite pregnant lady flicks.

5. Knocked Up (2007)

The Judd Apatow brand extends to films he simply produced, so he may be getting more creative credit than he deserves, but he had back to back writing/directing/comic gems with 2005’s Forty Year Old Virgin and this Pregnant Beauty and the Beast. Better for its ensemble than its leads, the flick boasts dead-on genius work from Leslie Mann, hilarious support from Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Jay Baruchel and Kristin Wiig, and it introduced the world to the now constant comic presence of Ken Jeong. At least he kept his pants on for this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rR4sXcMf_5o

4. Juno (2007)

Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera and Ellen Page enraptured us all with this quick witted, brilliantly cast, endlessly quotable comedy about a pregnant teen. Reitman and Cody would pair up again with the nearly flawless Young Adult, but their first collaboration remains fresher and funnier than you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwv12d85u7A

3. Waitress (2007)

Soulful and funny, gorgeously filmed and perfectly cast, Waitress is the list’s underseen joy. Pie baking phenom Kerri Russell squirrels away money so she can quit her waitressing job and leave her husband, then finds herself pregnant and attracted to her new doctor. Writer/director Adrienne Shelly’s film offers a pitch-perfect supporting cast, a cleverly crafted script, and the remarkable ability to make you want to eat pie right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cQ0WwcKCLk

2. Inside (2007)

Holy shit. Inside is not for the squeamish. This French horror flick pits a merciless villain against an enormous expecting mother. Though the film goes wildly out of control by the third act, it is a 2/3 brilliant effort, a study in tension wherein one woman will do whatever it takes, with whatever utensils are available, to get at the baby still firmly inside another woman’s body.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOk5tiAkEdA

1. Rosemary’s Baby

If you’re going to see only one pregnant lady horror flick, make it Rosemary’s Baby. It remains a disturbing, elegant, and fascinating tale, and Mia Farrow’s embodiment of defenselessness joins forces with William Fraker’s skillful camerawork to cast a spell. Yes, that crazy pederast Roman Polanski sure can spin a yarn about violated, vulnerable females.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PewtQsgN5uo