Review: Trainwreck

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Before it was the summer of Donald Trump it was the summer of Amy Schumer, who suddenly seemed to be everywhere. Kudos to her publicist, and to Judd Apatow, who directed her debut film, Trainwreck. The film is a hit, and Schumer seems assured of more films, but I hope the next one maintains her edge, instead of getting all marshmallowy at the end like this one does.

What Schumer seemed to want to do was turn the romantic comedy on its head, with the women being the one who sleeps around and gets drunk, while the man is the meek one trying to change her. That works pretty well in the first half, as Schumer has some very funny bits. I haven’t seen much of her TV show, but I have heard that a lot of her comedy is just acknowledging that she has a vagina. There’s some of that here, too, but I laughed out loud several times.

Schumer is a writer for a Maxim-style magazine (her editor is played in a delicious performance by Tilda Swinton). One of their articles is “Does Garlic Change the Taste of Your Semen?” She is sent to interview a sports physician who has a cutting edge knee surgery technique. He’s the “nice guy,” and she violates journalistic integrity by sleeping with him.

They get along great, but Schumer is haunted by her father’s years-long position that monogamy is not natural. He’s played by Colin Quinn, and he steals every scene in his in. He ends up in a nursing home, and says of his old codger friend (played by centenarian Norman Lloyd) that he’s been dead for three years but hasn’t been alerted.

Then the romantic comedy tropes start popping up. Schumer has to take a call from Swinton during Hader’s big speech, but it’s the first time Swinton has been shown being that demanding. Then he starts in on her drinking and pot smoking. The only thing missing her is Schumer hooking up with a meatball, but that happens at the beginning of the movie when she’s sleeping with a hunk played by wrestler John Cena.

The ending is terrible–it’s right out of something that stars Jennifer Lopez or Kate Hudson. Schumer does change herself to conform to Hader’s requests, such as that cheerleaders are fun people who make people happy. She also starts to soften to her sister (Brie Larson) who has a family and a really square husband (Mark Birbiglia). There’s also an embarrassing intervention scene in which a variety of celebrities try to talk sense with Hader. Chris Evert is reduced to having to say the word “cock blocker.”

But I will say that all the attention received by LeBron James as an actor is well-deserved. He is a natural on camera, and the scene in which he tries to divide the check for lunch with Hader is terrific.

Schumer is a bright talent, but I wish she and Apatow had gone a bit more for the throat in this film, such as not having the two stick together. Maybe next time.

My grade for Trainwreck: B-.

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

One response »

  1. By the sounds of it, Apatow is still using the same formula for 40-Year Old Virgin. ‘Edgy’, modern and confronting initially, but grows increasingly conventional and conservative as the film goes right up till a standard rom-com finale.

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