“Trainwreck” has some advanced screenings beginning tonight, but will be officially released theatrically across the country tomorrow.
“Trainwreck” seems to make the statement that you have little to no hope as an adult to be normal if you were raised by a selfish, sexist, and verbally abusive parent. When Amy and Kim were children, their father Gordon (Colin Quinn) divorced their mother because he couldn’t stay committed to one woman. 23 years later Gordon has become incredibly ill and Amy (Amy Schumer) and Kim (Brie Larson) are discussing moving their father from his current nursing home to a nicer one. Kim has a family of her own with a baby on the way, but Amy has never really had an exclusive relationship; she hooks up with a lot of guys, drinks heavily, and generally has no interest in finding “the one.”
Amy is forced to interview an NBA physician named Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) for a magazine article she’s writing for work. Amy’s hatred for sports in general backfires as she’s assigned something she has no interest in, but Aaron is different from the guys Amy usually brings home. Amy might actually be in love for the first time and she is loathing every minute of it.
This film has Judd Apatow written all over it and that entails a genuine, believable adult comedy based in reality. Amy’s situation feels like it could be the back story of someone you know and that’s the main reason Judd Apatow has had the longevity in the comedy game. But this is the feature film writing debut of comedienne Amy Schumer. Everyone is labeling this as the funniest film of the year and the greatest thing to happen to R-rated comedy since the beginning of ever, but “Trainwreck” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
A quick read-through of the film’s IMDb trivia reveals that Schumer basically catered to Apatow’s trademarks as a way to reel him in and direct the feature. That could be the reason why the film doesn’t feel like it’s breaking any new ground. The film’s formula is a carbon copy of everything Apatow has ever done and people fall for it hook, line, and sinker. The comedy is mostly a combination of gross-out humor and raunchy, explicit language, but it doesn’t really offer anything that “Spy” already gave audiences earlier this year.
The supporting cast is the only half decent aspect of this film. John Cena’s inability to properly trash talk or talk dirty in the bedroom is pretty humorous, but it results in seeing entirely too much of the WWE superstar. Imagine a giant grizzly bear becoming a bodybuilder, which is terrifying in its own right. Then that bear is shaved and thrown into a sex scene where it attempts to impress you with every inch of its body including flexing its beefy muscles and showing you the outline of its downstairs honeycomb. You will not be able to un-see that sequence.
The film within a film “The Dogwalker” starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei is so stupidly amusing. Comedian Dave Attell plays quite the impressive hobo that is constantly criticizing Amy, Mike Birbiglia brings the awkward humor he’s known best for as Kim’s husband Tom, and Ezra Miller’s quote unquote “sex scene” is so absurd that you can’t help but snicker, but Tilda Swinton is easily the most enjoyable as Amy’s hilariously shallow boss Dianna. Even LeBron James and his penny pinching ways may get a few laughs.
But the sentimental moments of “Trainwreck” have a deeper impact than the obnoxious raunchy comedy (that is practically in your face to a crazy extent at all times). Amy’s relationship woes, father issues, and inability to comprehend her sister’s family mentality all result in emotionally draining scenes that are intriguing to watch, but the film just can’t stand on its own two feet long enough to give itself its own identity. It is consistently throwing itself in Judd Apatow’s shadow, which results in a very weak and incredibly draining two hour duration.
Amy Schumer doesn’t seem to be offering anything Melissa McCarthy or Kristen Wiig haven’t already given us other than a bunch of meaningless sex and drunken antics followed by regretful hangover stories. “Trainwreck” has given the impression that Judd Apatow has become a one trick pony. While this film has taken a realistic approach to its humor it isn’t comical thanks to how familiar it feels. Any future storytelling from Amy Schumer should distant itself from those she admires, so we can experience a true independent vision that will be an actual representation of how funny she really is.