Trainwreck (2015)
Trainwreck (2015)

Genre: Comedy Running Time: 2 hrs. 5 min.

Release Date: July 17th, 2015 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Judd Apatow Actors: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Dave Attell, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, Randall Park, Ezra Miller, Brie Larson, Mike Birbiglia, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei

 


 

“M

onogamy isn’t realistic,” insists Gordon Townsend (Colin Quinn) to his two young daughters, as he likens relationships to playing with dolls. What child only wants to play with one doll for the rest of her life? This advice sticks with Amy (Amy Schumer) as she grows up, subconsciously coercing her to filter through dispensable men at an uncountable rate. Her worldview is as cynical and crass as her elderly father (who is now getting moved into an assisted living facility), fueling her approach toward her career and the opposite sex with sarcasm and inconsideration. She can’t really take anything seriously.

As a result, it’s also difficult for the audience to take Amy seriously, which becomes detrimental when she meets Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a sports doctor and an obvious love interest. She doesn’t sugarcoat her words, which spill out of her like vomit; she spews rapid-fire observations on everything – from the mundane to the shocking – trying to smash taboo subjects in a rambling fashion that allows for a hit-or-miss formula to overcome ineffective rips. It’s actually quite strange that she would ever view her life as a train wreck, especially considering she works at a job that she doesn’t particularly value, and that her only valuable romantic relationship is taking place during the course of the movie. She seems uncomfortably out of her element at S’nuff Magazine, a publication for predominantly immature men, even when she’s up for a potential executive editor position; it never seems like she’d aspire to be in that role or be genuinely happy staying with such a company.

As she narrates her life like Woody Allen in “Annie Hall” (going so far as to reference his work in a quick joke), she fails to make significant commentary to best any of the laughs in the film itself, which are heavily dependent on physical comedy – especially the sexually oriented kind – and famous athlete cameos that turn into supporting roles (as if Shumer’s screenplay couldn’t stand on its own and required an infusion of male role models). In fact, one of the major problems with the script is its length, which could have been manageable had it not been for all the sports elements that take away from Amy’s story – and appear inserted solely to keep masculine audiences from giving up on her acerbic, atypical feminine viewpoint. John Cena, Amar’e Stoudemire, and LeBron James add comic relief by creating weird alternate personas that would never work if they weren’t recognizable celebrities.

Because of the hopelessly commonplace plot – even with the stereotype role reversal and pessimistic, sardonic scrutinization of everyday life – “Trainwreck” isn’t hilarious enough to bring this occasionally edgy romantic comedy above the level of a Melissa McCarthy project. Jokes as a deflection for insecurity or discontentment aren’t new, and when the inevitable relationship conflict surfaces, the argumentative atmosphere saps some of the fun from Schumer’s irreverent attitude. Though the finale possesses a touch of spirited restoration to a downbeat dramatic interlude, the pacing at that point has already irreparably dulled the mood and speed of her earlier mockery and effective exaggerations on humorously awkward sexual escapades.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10