TRAINWRECK IS BOTH HILARIOUSLY
FUNNY, BUT PREDICTABLE
As a stand-up comedian, Amy Schumer has gain followers with her off-beat comedy routine, poking fun at her personal appearance as well as her sex life. While her comedy is colorful, Schumer’s talents hasn’t being fully tested on the TV / movie platform with an only a couple of small supporting roles in various projects and mostly recently her own show on Comedy Central called “Inside Amy Schumer”. Now Schumer, along with director Judd Apatow, brings her comedy routine to the big screen with the film Trainwreck. Does the film prove to be suitable ground for the 34 your comedian or is the movie like its namesake (a train wreck)?
An aspiring writer working for a spiteful, celebrity-bashing magazine, Amy (Amy Schumer) is stuck in rut of cycling through a constant series of one-night stands, while also being caught in uninteresting relationship with muscle boyfriend, Steven (John Cena). While being heavy into drinking and drugs, Amy’s life is further complicated with her father, Gordon (Colin Quinn), a bitter cheater who’s losing a battle against multiple sclerosis, testing the bond between Amy and her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), as he’s placed into a expensive nursing home. Assigned by her boss, Dianna (Tilda Swinton), Amy writes a feature exposé on a sports medical doctor, Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). Amy is charmed by the doctor’s shy and charismatic ways with their swift sexual encounters transforming into a committed relationship, which begins scares Amy.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
I remember I wanted to see this movie, but, for whatever reason, I kept on delaying seeing it (what can I say….I got busy). Director Judd Apatow has surely made a name for himself as a raunchy comedy filmmaker with such movies like Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, and The 40-Year-Old Virigin. Trainwreck is Apatow’s latest film in his directoral catogloue, weaving in his tried and true formula of these particualr movies as Schumer herself pens the film’s screenplay, something uncommon for a Apatow movie. Like most Apatow movies, Trainwreck doesn’t shy away from being offensive in a raunchy way, indulging heavily with drinking, drugs, sex, and sexist / racial slurs. This maybe somewhat off-putting for some viewers (those who are easy offended by the acts and /or remarks), but personally I wasn’t bothered by this. Yet, the movie also touches upon relationships, the desire to change, and (of course) sports. This result makes the movie walk a fine line between the hilarious vulgar humor and personal / romantic growth.
Trainwreck does have some faults in its undertaking. With the movie roughly over two hours long, Trainwreck does feel long with a couple of improvisations scenes that just feel tiresome (in general) and might lose a viewer’s attention in the process. Shaving off a good fifteen or so minutes would’ve probably help the movie’s general ranking with most, but, as it stands, Trainwreck overextends his running time unnecessarily. Also, while Schumer’s character in the movies makes her stance of “being different” than the most of her female peers, her character follows a familiar path. (Girl meets guy and things are going well from them until they reach problem and overcome it by the film’s third act). In truth, Trainwreck’s overall narrative follows a very formulaic path for usual rom-come film. Thus, it’s kind of a disappointment for this movie, that trying to be different, but ends up playing out in a very predictable fashion.
In a press interview, before the movie’s release, Amy Schumer said that certain aspects of Trainwreck are autobiographical, with her character of Amy’s one-night stints and late night sexual escapades being based on real life events. Thus, Schumer seems to be in her element, playing through these romantic / bedroom scenarios with playful and comedic ease. Also, and more surprisingly, Schumer does handle some of the movie’s more serious scenes good as well with her character struggling with romantic relationship with Aaron, while also dealing with her dad’s situation, which causing a wedge between her and her sister. It’s not the define role for her, but its solid performance from Schumer that surely does help elevate the movie from the similar feature in the genre. Schumer’s love interest in Trainwreck is Bill Hader’s Aaron Conners. Hader, who mostly famous for making supporting appearances in raunchy comedy movies, has enough witty charm and likeabity to buy into his on-screen persona (humor and all) and his relations with Amy. It doesn’t have the ideal handsomeness won would expect from romantic comedy movie (rugged or dashing), but Hader does bring a certain quality that seems perfect for Schumer’s character as well as the movie in general.
This being an Apatow comedy, Trainwreck has a roster of colorful supporting roles, assembling some comedic individuals and a few surprises. Actress Tilda Swinton plays Amy’s snooty boss Dianna with enough distaste and comedy to make the role memorable. Also, props to the make-up department for making Swinton look completely different from how she looks (I really didn’t know it was her until after the movie). Colin Quinn plays Gordon, Amy’s aging father, with great ease as Quinn casual spouts out his lines of obscene jokes and gags. Additionally, Brie Larson’s Kim, Amy’s sister, provides a couple of lines of comedy as well as some serious moments in the film. The surprise in the supporting cast comes from the movie’s handful of professional sport athletes. Basketball star Lebron James plays himself in the movie, acting as Aaron’s friend. It’s nice and quite funny to see Lebron enter the stand-up ring of comedy and handling it quite well, providing some of Trainwreck’s humorous scenes. Though he doesn’t have a big role in comparison to Lebron, pro wrestler John Cena does give viewers a few laughs with his performance of Amy’s hulking boyfriend Steven. Lastly, sports stars Tony Romo and Amar’e Stoudemire make a brief cameo appearance in the movie as well as Harry Potter himself.
Trainwreck is a movie that hilariously funny, but, at the same time, predictable. It’s a romantic comedy that’s has enough of its sum parts to please both raunchy comedy and romance fans. While the film has its moments of hitting familiar beats and overextending the film’s running time, Trainwreck rises above the generic norm with a solid performance from Schumer and the film’s supporting cast. To me, the movie was funny and worth the price of admission, proving that Trainwreck is a good movie to see in theaters or to buy when it comes out DVD / Blu-Ray later this year. Whatever your opinion is, it’s clear that comedian Amy Schumer has bright future (whether on the big or small screen).