15 – 124mins – 2015
SCHUTING FROM THE HIPFLASK
This is the first time I have witnessed the force of nature that is U.S. stand-up comedian Amy Schumer, however it is fair to say that her reputation precedes her. I was well aware of what to expect from her first leading role and screenplay gig – crude female-empowering jokes largely derived from sexuality – and, for better or worse, Trainwreck does not disappoint on that front.
Amy plays Amy (this being an amplified version of her pre-fame days, apparently), a magazine writer who shuns responsibility and sleeps around. A lot. Even when in a relationship. “Empowering”?! Hmmm… Reluctantly taking an assignment to interview sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy finds herself in unfamiliar territory – a loving relationship. But can her straight-laced beau persuade her to end her careless, commitment-phobic ways?
Hader plays to type as a genial everyman who verges on the pedestrian, though quite what he sees in a drink-swilling loudmouth like Amy is beyond me. Nevertheless, the tale plays out as expected, with Amy initially rebelling against mature feelings before a big bust up leaves her missing the man she thought she could move on from.
Directed by Bridesmaids and Superbad comedy king Judd Apatow (with Schumer’s script expanded from ideas the pair worked on), Trainwreck sticks with his tried and tested formula of mixing drama with comedy in a film which is at least 20minutes longer than it really should be. It is in the quieter, more introspective moments of soul-searching that the characters shine, rather than in the barrage of inappropriate sex n’ drugs jokes, which often don’t sit comfortably together.
The expansive cast are a mixed bag of agreeable and ghastly. Basketball star LeBron James comes off wonderfully, playing himself (a friend and patient of Dr. Conners) as a gentle giant, while Tilda Swinton is nearly unrecognisable as Amy’s horrific blunt-tongued editor. Colin Quinn is far from likeable as Amy’s less-than-perfect pa, however his character’s arc does bring some much-needed catharsis to proceedings.
This will not be everyone’s idea of hilarious, but there are moments of genius amid the tasteless dreck. Amy Schumer’s debut feature is at least true to her, and for that it isn’t a complete Trainwreck, even if the journey starts to wear thin by the time we alight.