I’m just kidding! (Or am I?)
Seriously, the stars are aligned for Amy Schumer right now and nothing I could write about her Judd Apatow directed movie, Trainwreck, will change anyone’s mind about this thing. So get ready for some free-blogging as I just spew out my thoughts.
1. Amy Schumer is hilarious (although am I the only one who thinks her usually spot-on and delightfully satirical Comedy Central show derailed into absurdist raunchy boredom the last few episodes this season?). As the author of her own star-vehicle, she provides herself material in Trainwreck that proves she can act, too. I just have to wonder, though…what’s next for her? Will she end up getting typecast?
2. The first hour or so of the move is episodic, raunchy, edgy, full of great lines, and riotously awkward moments as we watch Amy stumble through her love life and job at a men’s magazine until she meets a sports doctor (Bill Hader, good at playing the straight man to Schumer’s shtick) who changes her view on everything. And the fact that all that funny, edgy stuff leads into the “we’ve seen this a thousand times” romantic comedy garbage is what makes the film so frustrating. The last 45 minutes are an actual trainwreck of storytelling ping-ponging from comedy to pathos with little sense of making any meaning out of it beyond the “we can see it from a mile away” denoument.
3. The supporting cast and cavalcade of comedian cameos (i.e. Dave Attell as a funny homeless dude, because you know, homeless people are funny) are all great, although it’s a shame the fiery Rachel Feinstein was regulated to a few “I don’t even get to tell a joke”? lines as a nurse. My personal favorite was an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as Amy’s boss-from-hell. Her throw-away line where she announces in mock-accent, “I’m sick of your ginger nonsense!” in response Vanessa Bayer’s uncontrollable smiling was one of my favorite “HA!” moments in the film. And in what has become typical Apatow fashion, Schumer lets her director populate the film with a parade of big names from sports and beyond playing themselves (because nothing is more relatable than a big-name director showing you how many big-name friends he has!). Though admittedly LeBron James gets some genuine laughs and good lines as an overprotective friend to Bill Hader’s character, the rest of the cameos become annoying. This combined with Schumer’s “I’m just going to take bits from my stand-up and turn them into scenes!” style of writing make the whole film feel overly fabricated. None of these characters come across as real, although they are often funny and try to convince us they feel real emotions.
So what does any of this matter?
If you like romantic comedies, you’ll like this and think it’s edgier than most, although it missed a shot at being as lively and breezy and truly edgy as Chris Rock’s Top Five.
If you don’t like romantic comedies, you’ll tolerate this one more than most because of the Schumer shtick and Apatow brand.
If you like Amy Schumer, you’ll be happy to see her become a star.
Your overall enjoyment (or toleration?) of Trainwreck will be directly proportional to your fondness for Amy.
I really like Amy, so what am I complaining about here?
Written by David H. Schleicher