Release: Friday, July 17, 2015
Written by: Amy Schumer
Directed by: Judd Apatow
So I’m wondering if it’s some weird coincidence I’m listening to some softcore R&B while trying to decide whether Trainwreck‘s sappy or touching. There were some parts in this movie that were less than . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . I’m sorry, but this song is really damn good!
I genuinely should not be admitting to this, in the same way I shouldn’t fess up to going to see the flick on my own. (Le weep . . . ) But here I am, apologizing for nothing. Except for maybe leaving my phone number on the screen with the rapidly dissipating hope that maybe Amy Schumer would magically be in attendance, read it and then call me! Realistically, I’d be apologizing for my vandalizing the theater screen with desperation Sharpie.
Amy prefers one-night stands to having a boyfriend, to the point where she becomes uncomfortable when some hunk begs to stay the night. ‘Nope, out — out with you!’ But that’s before her editor at a gossip magazine (Tilda Swinton, yet again unrecognizable) sends her on an assignment to scoop up the dirt on Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a sports doctor. A meet-awkward turns into a proper first date, then a second and a third and a . . .
In spite of herself Amy starts having feelings for Dr. Connors, and before long she’s introducing him to Kim as well as earning the attention of LeBron James, a client and good friend of his. LeBron makes it clear Amy should be taking this relationship seriously, for Aaron is a good dude who needs not for his heart to be broken like a basketball player‘s ankles. In his feature film debut, LeBron is a minor revelation, becoming far less distracting than other superstar athletes who have come before. Shumer’s script certainly helps, but The King can actually act. Same applies for 12-time WWE Heavyweight Champion John Cena, who takes pleasure in spoofing his ridiculous physique as Amy’s sort-of fling, Steven. (Let’s not mention New York Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire, though.)
By design an off-putting, self-centered character, it speaks to Schumer’s talent that Amy, in all but one or two scenes, comes across as a thoroughly likable and empathetic twenty-something. Though her refusal to settle down with someone is clearly symptomatic of deep-seated insecurities. Since childhood Amy and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) have operated under the assumption that monogamy isn’t realistic. That was dad’s point of view, anyway. But kids grow up and the siblings take different roads — Kim, who was never really close with her father, takes the one more frequently traveled by having a family while Amy takes her dad’s words to heart.
If the buzz in a packed Thursday evening screening was any indication, Trainwreck is going to go down as Judd Apatow’s most fervently discussed film. The crème de la crème of cinema focusing on the casual encounter; his magnum opus of the minor comedy — minor, being a relative term. Like many of his productions Trainwreck is concerned with central characters — typically awkward adults — who become victims of and are desperate to escape their own personal arrested development. Amy happens to be a very strong example of the typical Apatowian character. As with tradition, the story remains slight but this time the film’s thematic aspirations — the necessity of personal commitment and its associated trepidation — feel more sincere and even more wholesome.
If there’s one thing more apparent than the brilliance of the lead performances, it’s how superior Trainwreck is to Apatow’s last effort, the middling middle-age dramedy we’ve already forgotten about, This is 40. Comparisons are often meaningless, particularly in a genre that’s as immune to consensus opinion as comedy, but if we are considering the two films in terms of the wealth and consistency of well-crafted jokes, then Apatow and his movie-making mojo have returned with a vengeance three years after an apparent hiatus from all the hilarity (and yes, the occasional sappy scene).
Recommendation: This free-spirited ride may address a certain text-messaging generation more eagerly than it tries to embrace a larger audience but Apatow’s style has never been for everyone anyway. For those who identify with Apatow Productions, the latest offering is absolutely not one to miss. Schumer and a fun, often surprising cast pull out all of the stops in Trainwreck.
Running Time: 125 mins.
Quoted: “My boy got intimate, sexual intercourse! Ohhhh!”
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