Trainwreck

Release: Friday, July 17, 2015

[Theater]

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!

#guessthesong #winaprize

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.

Rated: R

Running Time: 125 mins.

Quoted: “My boy got intimate, sexual intercourse! Ohhhh!” 

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com 

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37 thoughts on “Trainwreck

  1. Never sure with Apatow, he does swing and miss more than most. He is capable of hitting that sweet spot though, so might give this a try. Cool review bud.

    • Thank you Alex, wow so many comments appearing late on the blog right now. (Thanks WordPress) 😉

      Yeah I find this to be one of Apatow’s better ones, he is definitely prone to dodgy filmmaking every now and then. I’d recommend giving it a try sometime!

    • No harm in giving this a miss. It’s a good Judd Apatow film but if you’re not into his work this isn’t likely to do much for you. 🙂 I liked the athletes you starred in it, they did a surprisingly good job.

  2. Pleasantly surprised to read about this; I knew next to nothing about this until I read your (always excellent) review and now I am keenly looking forward to it. Never been that much of a Hader fan but I can get past that!

    • Chuffed to hear you compliment a very goofy review, sir. Hahah. I really kind of lost sight of where I wanted to go with this, but in a nutshell: Amy Schumer: awesome, and apparently a select few basketball players can act! Hader doesn’t actually stand out much here, but I typically find him likable enough. I can see where he doesn’t appeal to some though. He’s hit and miss.

    • Trainwreck turned out to be a lot of fun. I think it’s one of Judd Apatow’s better entries but that might well be because he didn’t write it. Haha.

      And yes, softcore R&B. It’s a new genre. Don’t judge me.

  3. He I go waddling into the pool of unpopular opinion again. 😉 I simply hate Apatow movies and his brand of humor. You’re right when you say they aren’t for everyone. I literally sit stone-faced during any trailer and mostly through his movies (that I have seen). The guy certainly has a following though.

    • Hey, I appreciate honest opinions. They are far too rare around here! 🙂 I have had a soft spot for his brand of filmmaking because more often than not the characters he chooses are pretty relatable. The stories he tells are always similarly relatable. They’re never ambitious, but they sometimes strike emotional cords and Trainwreck is a great example. That said, if you haven’t yet aligned with his approach, this likely won’t sway you.

  4. I think Amy Schumer is a hoot from the interviews I’ve seen her in. But I’m just not into raunchy, R-rated comedies generally, so I probably skip this one. Great review though Tom!

    • I appreciate tour avoidance of these types of comedies. They can often carry the scent of a very one-dimensional, superficial impression of human relationships. That said, I think Apatow has a way of piercing through the vulgarity and accessing the truth about the way people are either afraid or even incapable of addressing their needs and desires to be involved with others. Nine of his work will probably ever amount to essential cinema, but I think his new film is the best effort he’s made since The 40 Year Old Virgin.

  5. Did think it was a bit long, and some of the emotional moments made my eyes roll (but I do that a lot at romantic comedies). As pure comedies though, I laughed at this one more than anything else this year. Was pretty entertained, with LBJ and Cena being my two favorite characters.

    • Sorry I skipped over this comment dude! I had only heard of very good things prior to walking in to Trainwreck so my hopes were high. I can do romantic comedy, but I agree that more often than not they really aspire to nothing more than sap and forced comedy. Judd Apatow as director has provided some decent stuff but he also came up with This is 40 which I didn’t like very much. But maybe I wasn’t the right age bracket to properly appreciate it. I thought LBJ and Cena were excellent too.

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  7. Nice review, Tom! I don’t know…. Apatow has never made something I’ve loved… I’m more interested in finding out what song you were listening to! 🙂 And that’s okay – I go to movies alone too. But I don’t write my phone number on the screen… 😉

    • Whoops, I’m being a bad blogger and forgetting a lot of comments these days. Pouty face.

      Yeah, while I’ll never reveal that song I was listening to I can say that this is strong work from Apatow. He could possibly win you over. But if you’re thoroughly against him (which I wouldn’t blame you at all for) then perhaps Trainwreck will be at best a fairly amusing way to get rid of 2 hours. I liked it a lot though, and that might be because I had no prior exposure to Amy Schumer.

    • Yes it does, I really want to see more of her. I guess I should start with her stand-up routines, I hear they are pretty . . um, interesting. Haha. Schumer definitely is the reason to go see this, even though there were some surprises along the way for me as well.

    • I remember Mark Hobin had a pretty positive review of it and up until that point, what little of this I had heard about, I wasn’t interested in so it’s a really nice surprise to have enjoyed this. There were some genuinely painfully funny moments in Trainwreck. I haven’t been introduced to Amy Schumer prior to this so maybe that helped. And I was also really surprised by how well LeBron James came across. Names like that are often so distracting in movies but he actually worked. Check it out man.

  8. I was a huge fan of Apatow’s TV work, particularly Freaks & Geeks and didn’t mind his movies either. I thought Funny People was a huge missed opportunity on his part, it’s a movie that was half-great and half-mediocre and This Is 40 was just bad. Glad he’s got his muse back

    • Dude I *still* haven’t gotten around to watching Freaks & Geeks yet, I keep meaning to!

      I was actually a big fan of Funny People. It wasn’t really ‘funny,’ but I don’t think it was actually meant to be. But I will also admit it’s far from his best picture. And yeah, what came after was probably the low point. I really didn’t enjoy This is 40. Check this out, and I’d be delighted to read your thoughts on it.

      • Freaks and Geeks is one of my favorite shows of all-time. I really loved Funny People in the first half, it felt like such a real and personal film but it kinda fell apart in the second half for me. Still probably Apatow’s most mature film. Looking forward to this one.

        • Yeah that’s what I’ve taken away from Funny People. It had the balls to actually title itself that way but then go pretty much the route of a serious drama. I mostly like it because it features a much better Adam Sandler, even if he is at times a jerk in that. I’d prefer him in that to any of his ‘Jack & Jill’ type characters, though! Haha.

          Looking forward to your thoughts on this new one.

  9. Hahaha what on earth is softcore R&B?!?! I’ve never heard that phrase!!

    I’ve never heard of this but it sounds interesting enough. Though I can’t believe LeBron James is in it. Don’t get me started, I just cannot stand the guy! If this makes its way to Oz I might watch it just to laugh at him… even if he does a decent job damnit!! I just like laughing at him. Am I a bad person?

    I don’t typically go for these sorta flicks but your write up has be curious Tom. Good job once again Sir!

    • Hahah, I’m glad you picked up on that and commented on it. I was waiting for someone to. 😉

      I do that kind of stuff a lot, it’s like reader bait. Still, no one’s asked me what song specifically I was listening to. 😉 But honestly I have no idea what ‘soft core R&B’ would be, i think I meant to type soft core hip-hop but I haven’t gone back and edited. (For once.)

      Not a LBJ fan, huh? Well, consider yourself unfollowed, then!!!!! YOU ARE BANISHED!!!!! 🙂 jk

      • I’m a Derrick Rose fan, tho its so fucked how injuries have killed his career. Before the injuries he was the best PG in the game. I liked how he was so humble. LBJ is….. the opposite of humble.

        • Well I’d have to completely disagree on that. I do like Derick Rose a lot too, and it’s an absolute bummer what happened to him. He likely will never fulfill his potential with the injuries he has had to endure

          • Hehe, you don’t think LBJ is a just a tiny bit arrogant? 😛
            Tho I guess its relative, compared to Rose one could say he is arrogant, but compared to someone like…say Russell Westbrook, he doesn’t seem all that different. Huh, you’ve made me think twice about LBJ man, no one has ever done that. For some reason I’ve just always disliked the guy .

            And you’re right about Rose, he’ll never be the same. Now you have Westbrook and Irving, Curry, John Wall…. his name just isn’t up there anymore. I swear I cried when it happened the second time. I cried like a little bitch man haha, the look of pain on his face, mental pain… it was too much for me.
            My favourite player is Joakim Noah though, and even though Rose will never be like he was, I think if he can stay healthy the Bulls can make another run for the title. Its a big ‘if’ though.

            • I think LeBron is a bit arrogant, sure. When you’re that good though you end up having to pick and choose your battles. I think he’s chosen to just be himself, and with his profile being as high as it is there is literally nothing he can do that will appease those who passionately hate him. If he comes off a bit aloof or cocky, I think he’s earned the right to become that. I think there are many more players who are far worse than he is and they don’t possess anything near the talent he does. People like Dwight Howard, JR Smith, fuck….I think Michael Jordan was arrogant but I don’t question it because that guy was/is legend. Lol!

              Interesting that you like Noah. I really don’t like that dude at all but I respect him. He’s got one of the most interesting styles I’ve seen. Watching him shoot a ball though is really pretty awkward lol

              • Yeah you are spot on with your comments about LBJ. I wouldn’t say I hate him, I’ve just disliked him…. but only since he left Cleveland and they made a whole big deal about ‘the big three’ in Miami. That gave me the shits and from then I just didn’t like the guy, for no good reason really now that I think about it.

                I am interested to see what he is like in a movie – if he can act as well as he does on the court, then he’s probably alright. He is pretty good at selling fouls when he wants to ;P

                And yeah, Noah hahaha!! I can imagine him being a guy who is easy to hate. Hell, he fires off pistols if he scores a simple jump shot!! And you just gotta love that awkward side-spin shot! You know he actually averages 77% from the free throw line?? Its hard to believe any of his shots go in. I just love his energy and passion, he is the heart of the team. And I really hope I’m not proven wrong here, but unless he gets fucked over by management (which it sounds like the couch is, sadly), he seems like the sorta guy who will stick with a team for his entire career – and those types of players are truly a dying breed. Dirk, half the Spurs team… can’t think of many more who have stuck it out in the one place. The game is becoming more of a business which is unfortunate, IMHO

                • Oh, dude. The whole ‘Announcement’ thing about LBJ going down to Miami was utterly obnoxious. I hated that, and I think. . . i’m not entirely sure, though, but I think in recent years he has come forward to admit that that wasn’t the best way to handle the process. I blame it more on ESPN and other media trying to get better ratings by blowing the whole event way out of proportion.

                  People are entirely entitled to hate whoever they want; LBJ is easy i think just because he’s so prominent. I don’t think a lot of people like Blake Griffin either, but I am a fan of his as well. But neither of these people are the buffoons that is (was?) Ron Artest a.k.a. Meta World Peace. I hated that shit. Hahah!

                • HAHAHA! Blast from the past, Meta World Peace. Where the hell did he end up after playing for the Lakers three or four years ago?? He just disappeared!

                  Interesting what you say about the announcement. I never looked at it that way, but you’re spot on. Hehe I didn’t know you were into the NBA man.

                  I’ve never hated the guy, thats far too strong a word, though I’m sure a lot of people in Cleveland did. Good on him for going back to his hometown, I hope he stays there. Like I was saying there needs to be franchise players, they are a dying breed.

                  I won’t lie though, I did enjoy seeing LBJ lose to GS. I’m such a bastard!! A lotta that tho has to do with him, Cavs or Heat, beating the Bulls in tough, close playoff series. Been really frustrating for Bulls fans!!

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