If “Trainwreck” could be slotted into that neat little formula X meets Y, you might say it’s “Bridget Jones’ Diary” meets “The Devil Wears Prada,” though both of those were much better movies. Like “Diary,” it’s the escapades of a single woman who doesn’t quite know who she is or what she wants, and it has a work setup straight out of “Devil.” Alas, it’s much more restrained both when it comes to the heroine humiliating herself and then triumphing.
For example. “Diary” has a great f-you scene when Renee Zellweger quits her job as a book publishing assistant by informing her boyfriend/ boss, Hugh Grant, who’s been cheating on her, that she’d rather take a job wiping Saddam Hussein’s ass, and everyone gives her the “you go, girl” sign, including an older woman colleague who Renee has always believed looked down on her. “Trainwreck” has a scene where Amy Schumer is canned from her job as a writer at a men’s magazine, but it’s not cathartic, just depressing, and there’s no sisterhood to be found at her job, with her uppity British boss (Tilda Swinton) giving her backhanded compliments or colleague who winds up taking her job and is insufficiently non-gloaty about it. The ending is amusingly over-the-top, but the rest of the movie could have benefited from some more of that. (A lot of dialogue is sexually crude but in my opinion, overall just not that funny.)
Starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader as her Prince Charming-to-be, an adorkable sports medicine doctor who gets to hang around with luminaries like LeBron James, “Trainwreck,” begins with Young Amy’s dad informing her and her sister that “Monogamy isn’t realistic.” He then illustrates the point further by asking Amy’s sister if she would be happy playing with just one doll for the rest of her life and elaborates from there. The end result: while the adult sister (Brie Larson) is in a committed relationship, has a sweet stepson and is pregnant, Amy is well, kind of a hot mess. Her “boyfriend” i.e. guy she lets take her to the movies discovers that she isn’t monogamous and dumps her, even though she assures him that it’s okay if he sees other women (“It’s every guy’s dream!”). Unfortunately, Amy’s boyfriend really wants to settle down, form a cross-training company (don’t ask) and have kids. “We can have three boys and then two…more boys,” he offers, but there’s that darn monogamy thing again, and Amy winds up fleeing.
Things change when her boss makes her take an assignment profiling Bill Hader’s character, pitched by another colleague who isn’t too pleased to have his assignment yanked out from under him. Even though Amy hates sports and sports fans, she realizes that she’s finally met a guy who wants to see her again, and who she might want to see again, too. Basically, like Colin Firth in “Diary,” Bill is a bona fide grownup with a mature attitude toward his parents, job and personal life. As in, if he gets angry, he expects that things will eventually blow over and work out. This is a novelty to Amy, and anyone who’s ever seen a romantic comedy before won’t be surprised to learn that the route to their ultimate happiness is paved with wacky high jinks and multiple misunderstandings. Amy has to learn to deal with the inevitable down spots in a relationship without running away, and Bill has to learn to be a bit more assertive about his doubts and fears, too.
“Trainwreck” is funny, and I enjoyed all the cameos, as well as Bill’s rapport with his clients, including LeBron, with whom he plays a seriously one-sided game of one-on-one basketball. It just doesn’t have any big surprises, but is as good a way to seek some air-conditioned refuge during the summer as any.