Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, LeBron James, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn, Brie Larson, Vanessa Bayer, John Cena, Daniel Radcliff, Marisa Tomei

Schumer’s first movie lead definitely proves she has a future in acting. However, it doesn’t completely show how great a writer she usually is.

Especially in the first half, there’s some great comedy – the smart, self-deprecating, and profane hilariousness we come to expect from her TV show Inside Amy Schumer (which she also writes). Trainwreck, though, ends up waaaay less edgy than her Comedy Central gig. Underneath all the reckless trappings, this flick, directed by Judd Apatow, is actually a very traditional – and somewhat disappointing – romantic comedy.

The film's first half is hilarious, but director Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and Bill Hader cannot stop the second half from sliding into cliche.

The film’s first half is hilarious, but director Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer and Bill Hader cannot stop the second half from sliding into cliche.

Schumer is the same messed-up party girl she often plays on TV. Her boyfriend, WWE’s Cena, is a little cold in bed. (She says it’s like screwing an ice sculpture. He may be a little gay.) She often gets drunk and goes looking for a little something-something on the side. If she blacks out or crawls home half naked, that’s all a part of her glamorous Manhattan lifestyle.

Schumer even works as a journalist for a sexist men’s magazine called S’Nuff, under a brilliantly funny, crass boss portrayed by Swinton. They do stories like “Am I Gay or Are You Just Boring?” One writer (SNL’s Bayer) is assigned to find out first-hand if garlic affects the taste of a man’s semen. Her own assignment puts Schumer in touch with sports doctor Hader, and she accidentally falls in love.

So much of the first hour is solid Schumer uproar, turning boys-club humor on its ear. Hader’s best friend is basketball legend James; he makes sure Hader doesn’t watch Downton Abbey without him. He’s fond of dishing on Hader’s romantic life and doling out advice. (In fact, the sports legend often steals the movie.)

Schumer is always funniest when she’s flipping things on their heads and confounding our expectations. The first hilarious half definitely achieves that, so we don’t mind that it wanders around a bit. Underneath her writing is often a serious feminist bent, one that often calls women on their own self-disrespecting behavior. For all its profanity and shock, it’s actually smart stuff.

Basketball legend LeBron James and an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton often steal their scenes in this movie.

Basketball legend LeBron James and an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton often steal their scenes in this movie.

Schumer and Apatow inspire stars to sign up for cameos and bit parts (Swinton, Radcliff, Tomei).

So, it’s disappointing that the last half of Trainwreck finds itself on a typical romantic track. The story starts to sag and get maudlin; it becomes cliché. The surprise runs out quicker than Schumer’s character after a one-night stand. Director Apatow often does this with his flicks, creating “meaning” by draining out all the fun. The two-hour film starts to feel long – a serious trap for comedy.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

It’s as if the only answer to Schumer’s drinking, drugging, and sleeping around is bland domesticity. That’s not the sort of cutting-edge humor her fans expect – or want. (I actually wonder if Apatow and Hollywood producers coerced Schumer into tamping down her indecent inventiveness for something they felt a larger audience could stomach.)

Still, that first part is so wildly and inappropriately entertaining, that it may make this Trainwreck worth the trip.

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