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Based on the unscientific metric of audience laugh rate during a well-attended Sunday matinee, Le Bron James is the funniest person in “Trainwreck,” a movie written by and starring one culture-certified comedy genius, Amy Schumer, directed by another, Judd Apatow, and featuring the likes of Bill Hader, Colin Quinn, Dave Attell, Vanessa Bayer, and Mike Birbiglia.
This is, depending on how you look at it, either a happy revelation of James’s diverse talents or an unfortunate detail about the movie to which he lends them.
But let’s stick to the good news: James, playing a gently bizarro version of himself, steals the show.
He is the best friend of Schumer’s love interest, a sports surgeon named Aaron Conners (Hader), and serves as the wary gatekeeper of his friend’s fragile heart.
In a requisite scene of one-on-one with Conners, he forgets to go easy and innocently bullies his feeble opponent all over the court.
Was I the only one who, at some point, wanted the camera to leave the movie stars for a while and see what this Le Bron character was getting up to on his own?
Maybe I am still in the thrall of watching James grill Schumer about her intentions with his friend—“When you look at the ?
This familiar rom-com role often produces reliable laughs, but it is normally played by a quirky comedic actress in pajamas, rather than by the best basketball player on the planet—and so the initial joy of watching James onscreen likely owes to the relief of discovering that he is not as terrible as he had every right to be.
But that low bar is cleared quickly, during his first scene, after he nails a bit about being so cheap that he’d drive forty minutes out of his way to retrieve a pair of thirty-dollar sunglasses.
From there on—as he haggles over an itemized brunch bill, refers to sex as “making love,” sings the praises of Cuyahoga sunsets, and offers dating advice in the form of a spoken-word monologue of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger”—it becomes clear that James has delivered something more than just a passably good cameo.
He plays himself as at once artless and knowing, cheerfully sentimental but with a mean streak when it comes to protecting his buddy.