Synopsis – Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.
My Take – I guess everyone who is into comedy films knows the name Judd Apatow, a talented writer, producer & director. Having launched comedy giants such as Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Melissa McCarthy & many others to the big screen, Apatow has made himself quite a unique force in the industry. This film, which is his fifth feature film directorial effort (after The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Funny People, This Is 40), & also the first film he dint write. This comedy flick is written by it’s star, stand-up comedian Amy Schumer (in her feature film debut). Here is my problem with films such Bridesmaids, This is 40, The Five Year Engagement or any other comedy along the lines of those. They run about for 2 hours, and almost drains me, I feel somehow the humor dries up. Nevertheless, Schumer and Apatow have crafted an almost classic date movie yet one that’s fresh and a little edgy. More so the former than the latter, but most romantic comedies don’t ever find an edge. There’s something in here for everyone, whether you’re a guy into sports or not (especially if you are into sports though) or whether you’re a woman who loves chick-flicks or a hardcore feminist. Somehow, the film exists as this acceptable contradiction. I must admit, I dint know much about Amy Schumer, it was the buzz surrounding her these last few months is something which curiously interested me. After seeing her host this year’s very boring MTV awards (which she was the best part off), I can imagine why people claim she is going places. Luckily for me, I really enjoyed this film! The film is original in that it reverses typical gender roles in romantic comedies where the woman is the pursuer and the man is the pursuee. The script, written by Amy Schumer, is what really puts this film over the top.When you team up Judd Apatow, one of the best comedy directors working today, with Amy Schumer, one of the best comedians working today (arguably), you’ve struck gold & did I mention it has Bill Hader, like who doesn’t like Bill Hader?
The story follows Amy (Amy Schumer) was taught, by her father (Colin Quinn) at a very young age, that true monogamy isn’t possible. As an adult, she’s now a successful magazine writer; that’s afraid of commitment. So she constantly uses men, she meets at bars, for sex, even though she is in a relationship with Steven (John Cena). One day her boss (Tilda Swinton) assigns her a story, on a popular sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). After getting to know the guy, she’s amazed to find out that she actually has romantic feelings for him. Her way of life is put to the test. I’m a huge Judd Apatow fan (Knocked Up is one of my all-time favorite movies) and I’ve really enjoyed all of his films (even Funny People which is considered his weakest). They tend to be way too long (usually close to 2 hours, or more), and they also usually contain several repetitive actor ‘improve scenes’, that seem to never end, but they’re always hilarious and heartfelt. Apatow is amazingly skilled at combining really emotional drama, with silly slapstick comedy. This film is no different, than any of his previous work, even though he didn’t write it. It seems exactly like an Apatow flick, just with a female lead instead of a male; so it’s really impressive that he found a female comedian/actress/writer, that seems to think just like he does! While this film isn’t the raunch-fest I expected, it still had its moments and I still enjoyed it. The two leads are both complex and have some depth to them. Amy‘s character is smart, funny, outgoing but can also get emotional and dark at times. The dramatic and more emotional parts revolve around the relationship between Amy’s sister (Brie Larson) and her father (Colin Quinn). Their chemistry is what sold me and it all works well. Quinn also gets the chance to deliver some of the film’s best one liners as well as a speech at the opening which set the tone for the rest of the film. Hader‘s Aaron is the normal guy among all the outrageous ness but he holds his own. The film was also able to get some great, funny performances by those who you may not expect, mostly from some well-known athletes. The film does get a little formulaic at times but it chooses to approach this in a way that is smart, real, and non-cliche in the way that it handles relationships. This is because the characters are real and that’s what makes them more relate able. There were many moments in this film that made me laugh out loud including a scene with John Cena in a movie theater which I won’t spoil.
By now we know that with a Judd Apatow films you’ll get a nice blend of raunchy humor and heart. It is a tried and true formula – and it works again here but with something different and that’s Amy Schumer. Sure there might be a few uneven moments..but the duo here help create one of the funniest romantic comedies I have seen in a long time with one of the most fun finale scenes I’ve had the pleasure of seeing all year long. Schumer is a force here, knocking every gag out of the park but also displaying some quite impressive dramatic skills that one doesn’t expect from a stand-up comedian. Bill Hader is finally given and masters the lead role he deserves perfectly. He is lovable, relate able in every way and is the perfect match for Amy on the big screen. Their chemistry here is undeniable. Brie Larson is also very good as Schumer‘s sister, reminding everyone the world’s greatest mystery: why isn’t she in more films?! However, John Cena surprises with a supporting role filled with hysterical one liners. On top of that, he has great comedic timing! Lastly, Tilda Swinton is flat out great and unrecognizable and even LeBron James manages to be quite funny. Daniel Radcliffe & Marisa Tomei have a hilarious cameo as well. Of course the film film does have some negatives, for example the film does slow down comically in the second half. Some scenes either feel out of place or don’t work from the get go and it halts the pace a bit. There is a certain pair of cameos that the joke they take part in doesn’t work at all. On the whole, ‘Trainwreck‘ is a sweet, beautifully filmed, tender (and very profane) first outing for the talented Amy Schumer. The film subverts the rom-com genre because of its unlikely protagonist, Amy, a woman who doesn’t look perfect and is totally likable because of that. At the same time, the film’s biggest flaw is how much it adheres to the rom-com formula, but it doesn’t detract from the quality overall. Judd Apatow has given us the funniest film (or maybe at par with Spy) of this year. Give it a watch!
Director – Judd Apatow
Rated – R
Run Time – 125 minutes