“I think she has stories to tell.”
That is how comedy powerhouse Judd Apatow put Sunday night in front of a packed house at the Paramount. “Trainwreck,” his new movie starring (and written by) Amy Schumer in her big screen début, had just screened as a work-in-progress for SXSW Film and he was describing hearing the 33-year old Schumer on “The Howard Stern Show.”
Schumer noted that the raunchy comedy (which also starred Bill Hader, Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, and yes, LeBron James) was “a personal story for me” and that co-writing it with her sister Kim (also a comedy writer) was the best part of making the film.
While Apatow’s movies are set in Los Angeles, Schumer said that being born and raised in New York City and Long Island influences everything she makes.
“I’ve (set) everything I’ve ever written in New York,” she said. “I kind of can’t imagine having a big kitchen” (BIG LAUGH) “Judd was nice enough to leave his family for a couple of months and shoot in the 90 degree Chinatown weather.”
When asked how close this movie was to real life, Schumer said Apatow pushed her to make the film more personal.
“I submitted my first script to Judd and I was proud of it and he was really nice and he said, ‘Why don’t you write about what’s really up?,’ Schumer said. “I had to take a look at myself and this is very much me taking a look at what’s going on with me.”
As for her famous take-no-prisoners attitude, Schumer said she never lost the a certain amount of unselfconsciousness.
“I was visiting my brother in Chicago recently and he reminded me that I didn’t lose my two front teeth until fifth grade,” Schumer said. “But I had my period so I was this jack-o-lantern with (breasts) walking around.”
Apatow turned to her: “And NOW you tell me?,” Apatow said. (Indeed, that would have made a good opening scene.)
“I looked like Pinocchio transitioning to a donkey,” Schumer continued. “I just didn’t know anything was possibly wrong with me until I was 30. I feel super sentimental when I see young girls that feel that everything is OK and for some reason I held onto that longer than most and I just encourage that kind of trusting that you’re allowed to be a human being.”
Since “Trainwreck” was billed a work-in-progress, a formal review seems inappropriate but here are a few notes:
* It concerns a hard drinking, pot smoking, man-eating magazine writer (Schumer) at let’s-call-it-fake-Esquire who is assigned by her editor (Tilda Swinton) to write a profile of a sports doctor (Hader) with whom she slowly falls in love.
* It is exactly what you expect if you know “Inside Amy Schumer” and the work of Judd Apatow.
* Nice to see Hader tow the line between straight man and comedic role after his terrific turn in “The Skeleton Twins.”
*Tilda Swinton can still do anything put in front of her.
* Norman Lloyd is in it and as Apatow noted, Lloyd is literally 100 years old and looks about 70 and is still sharp, so the jokes about him being an old man do not work.
* I wasn’t expecting a breakout comedic performance from LeBron James played LeBron James, but here we are. Dude almost walks away with the movie.
* As does…wait for it….John Cena.
* Seeing the sexual politics of this thing unpacked by critics on ye olde Internet is going to be fascinating (and possibly exhausting) Expect think-pieces for weeks.