Arts

Trainwreck: hop aboard for uproarious comedy

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Trainwreck
Damon Smith

TRAINWRECK (15, 125 mins) Comedy/Drama/Romance. Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena, Randall Park, Brie Larson, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn, LeBron James. Director: Judd Apatow

RATING: FOUR STARS

AWARD-winning actress and writer Amy Schumer raises her skirt to political correctness and gleefully flashes sexual inequality with this potty-mouthed comedy that is far from the debacle promised by the title.

Directed at a lick by Judd Apatow, who temporarily lost his mojo after Knocked Up in 2007, Trainwreck is a hilarious, heart-warming portrait of modern womanhood. Throughout the uproarious two hours, Schumer is the butt of her own expertly targeted jokes and she generously shares sparkling one-liners around the excellent cast.

In particular, she creates a hysterical supporting role for Oscar winner Tilda Swinton, as a monstrous magazine editor who demands gung-ho headline-grabbing titillation.

There's a thin glaze of sweetness at pivotal moments between female characters in Schumer's script and an emotionally raw scene at a funeral deftly tugs the heartstrings.

Yet, for its adherence to rom-com tropes, Trainwreck is laced with sufficient biting wit and self-effacement to drink The Hangover and its crude imitators under the table.

At age nine Amy Townsend (Schumer) learns a valuable lesson about human relationships from her embittered father (Colin Quinn). "Monogamy isn't realistic," he tells Amy and her little sister Kim, encouraging the girls to chant this as a mantra.

Twenty-three years later, Amy has taken those words to her booze-soaked heart, enjoying anonymous sexual encounters, while dating a muscle-bound hunk (John Cena), whose prowess leaves a lot to be desired. In contrast, sister Kim (Brie Larson) has settled down with her knitwear-clad husband Tom (Mike Birbiglia).

"You dress him like that just so no-one else wants to have sex with him?" quips Amy.

When Amy isn't picking up men in bars, she works at lifestyle magazine S'Nuff with kooky best friend Nikki (Vanessa Bayer).

Out of the blue, editor Dianna (Swinton) assigns Amy to pen a profile on sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who is good friends with basketball player LeBron James (playing himself).

Amy knows almost nothing about sport but she obliges and sparks an unlikely romance with the kind-hearted medic that threatens to unravel the tattered fabric of her bed-hopping existence.

Schumer instantly endears us to her self-destructive 30-something, who has to hit rock bottom before she can begin the slow, painful ascent back to healthy self-respect. Hader is an adorable comic foil and on-screen chemistry between the two leads simmers beautifully.

Supporting performances are equally memorable, including amusing cameos from Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei.

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