It’s all too easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to the mere mention of Judd Apatow’s name. As an apparent mentor to those enrolled in the massively if unfortunately popular school of grunge comedy (ie, how many times can you fit fuck into any sentence?), he will surely never live down his involvement with the execrable Bridesmaids and the equally awful Get Him To The Greek. To be fair, however, as director of The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Apatow exposed a pleasing hint of sentiment and in this at times erratic but ultimately heart-warming movie he lets it flow like a river of gold. Bouquets for this should also be lavished on its star, Amy Schumer, who also happened to write the screenplay.
If not your typical rom-com leading lady – she is a porker with a double chin, for starters – Schumer is so effortlessly ‘natural’ that it is impossible to not be onside with her. She plays a journo on a sensationalist celebrity mag in NYC. As a good-time gal, she’s had countless lovers without ever feeling the need to commit to any relationship – the words of her Lothario father, ‘monogamy is unrealistic’, are echoed in her lifestyle. Assigned by her hard-as-nails editor (Tilda Swinton) to write a piece on the less worldly Aaron (Bill Hadder), a leading sports doctor, Amy soon finds herself romantically entwined with her subject. Because he can’t help himself, Apatow indulges in tedious gags about dicks and tampons – a sex scene with Amy and the muscle-bound Steven (John Cena) is terribly long and leaden – but Schumer’s atypical character goes much deeper than just challenging the body-image stereotype. Ridiculous to say, but I was blinking back the tears at one point before laughing like a drain at the rollicking set-piece that delivers the happy ending which is demanded of the genre but too often arrived at with dollops of treacle. Colin Quinn is terrific as Amy’s un-PC dad and basketball superstar LeBron James, as himself, does a nice turn in self-deprecation.