There are a good amount of laughs all around, but Trainwreck doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy or a drama.
If there’s a romantic comedy with a bit of raunchiness to it, you can bet that Judd Apatow is in some way associated with the project. Over the last 10-15 years, Apatow has directed or produced numerous different films that have come to re-define the genre, e.g. 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bridesmaids, The Five-Year Engagement, Girls, etc. Apatow has proven to be successful with his formula in the past and has an eye for other films that can, in some way, be similar to his style. But that doesn’t always mean everything he touches is a hit.
Trainwreck’s plot is rather simple when it comes down to it: Gordon (Colin Quinn) let’s his young daughters, Amy and Kim, know that him and their mother are getting a divorce. How does he go about telling them? By using Kim’s doll as an example, saying that it wouldn’t be fair if he was only able to play with one doll for the rest of his life. Now older, Amy (Amy Schumer) lives her life by her father’s words – “Monogamy isn’t realistic.” When she’s not working as a journalist, she finds herself drinking, getting high, and with a different guy every night, living by her father’s words. On the other hand, her sister Kim (Brie Larson) appears to be happily married with a stepson, going against what her father taught. Amy and Kim are helping to pack up their childhood home with them having to put their father in a nursing home due to his deteriorating health.
Back at her job, Amy has been given an assignment she’s really not into at all–interviewing a sports doctor who performs career changing surgeries on a whole bunch of big name athletes, including Tom Brady, Amar’e Stoudemire, LeBron James just to name a few. Amy meets with Dr. Aaron Connors (Bill Hader) at his office and right off the bat things don’t get off to the best of starts. Amy and Aaron go out drinking together one night she ends up going back to his place where they hook up. As Amy goes to leave his place, he doesn’t let her and she ends up spending the night. Things for Amy get a bit weird as it seems like she may actually be liking Aaron which goes against her programming as a person.
Trainwreck is kind of a tough movie to write about since it doesn’t seem like Schumer and Apatow know quite what kind of movie they wanted to make. With Apatow’s experience on re-defining what a romantic comedy is in today’s society and Schumer becoming what can be described as the new “It” girl…they’re just a match made in heaven. What we’re given is a main protagonist that, in reality, feels like her own antagonist in the process. The character Amy isn’t likeable from beginning to end and her “change” doesn’t feel natural or believable. When looking at the formula of Trainwreck, it really feels like an updated, gender-swapped Knocked Up with some different situations obviously. I know that Amy Schumer wrote the script, but it feels so much like Apatow that I have to wonder how much Schumer compromised her voice just to work with the man.
That’s not to say Trainwreck is…well, a trainwreck. When the film is funny, it’s legitimately, 100% pure hilarity. Some of the jokes just knock it out of the park and some of the performances are legitimately top notch. A sentence I never thought I’d say: LeBron James steals almost every scene he’s in. Credit also has to be given to Bill Hader, who proves that he’s one of the most underrated comedic actors working today. He’s perfect actor to alongside Schumer and is the perfect foil to Schumer’s…Amy. Credit does have to be given to Schumer in the acting department, who proves she’s capable of leading a film. I imagine she’ll be given another chance and deservedly so.
One of Apatow’s faults, which comes with his successes, is that he doesn’t know when to cut a scene. A lot of the jokes in Trainwreck just kept going and going where they became exhausting and reached a point where it feels like it’s just being bashed over the audience’s head. At a certain point, Apatow needs to realize when a scene is funny and when a scene is over. It’ll help cut the length of his films but a solid 20-30 minutes. At the end of the day, there’s no doubt that Trainwreck is a funny movie. But when it tries too hard and attempts to be something more, it just feels messy and disorganized. Fans of Schumer will enjoy the chance to watch her on the big screen, but as a whole Trainwreck leaves a lot to be desired.
Trainwreck is directed by Judd Apatow written by Amy Schumer, and stars Schumer, Tilda Swinton, Bill Hader, John Cena, Brie Larson, and Colin Quinn. Trainwreck will be in theaters July 17, 2015.