At this moment and time, the comedian who has their finger most prominently on America’s funny bone is Amy Schumer. The constantly trending funny-woman not only greatly advanced her own career through her wildly popular sketch show ‘Inside Amy Schumer,’ but used it as something of a battering ram against stereotypes against females in both comedy and entertainment as a whole. It was only a matter of time before she found herself a leading woman vehicle. With comedy mastermind Judd Apatow at the helm of a self-written screenplay, Trainwreck certainly seems like the best case scenario for Schumer’s debut, particularly in a summer that thus far has only had one comedy that has gone above average. In other words, the ball’s in your court Amy.
The story centers on Amy (Amy Schumer), a thirty something single gal who intends on living a life on a rotating wheel of booze and boys for as long as she is able. With that said, she’s in something of a rut, with her sister Kim (Bre Larson) starting to loose patience with her, and the magazine she works for sending her out to interview a sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader), despite Amy having no interest in sports. However, as she starts to get to know Aaron, Amy finds herself doubting the virtues of her lifestyle, even if she’s determined to do everything in her power to keep those pesky emotions below the surface. After all, why keep a guy who really likes you around when flopping around on top of John Cena is an option, am I right?
Trainwreck certainly gets a lot of millage out of Schumer’s natural charisma. She has a laid back, yet lovably vulgar demeanor that makes her endlessly watchable. She perfectly balances this bravado, with the under-current of sadness that comes with being such a lone wolf. While this character isn’t particularly a stretch for her, essentially a slight remodeling of herself, she’s also given a couple moments to show some deeper emotion that come off extremely genuine. Meanwhile, she’s paired up with some really game supporting players. Hader continues his streak of more reserved performances here, giving Amy a very sweet, if not overly so, counterpart, while Tilda Swinton is an unrecognizable joy as Amy’s judgmental boss. However, special mention must be given to John Cena, who is an absolute riot as he skewers his macho persona. He’s only in a few scenes, but he lets his surprisingly strong comedic timing shine through in each and every one. Here’s hoping there’s no more Marines or Twelve Rounds in our future, and that he sticks to these comedic roles.
Unfortunately, the highly game cast is let down but Apatow, who’s once razor sharp touch seems to dull a little with each succeeding film. The movie never really finds a consistent tone, constantly riding the line between a raunchy sex comedy, and a sweet romantic comedy. It never quite turns into the skid of either, and as such it just feels like a whole lot of everything on the screen. Even though it presents itself as something of a reverse of typical gender roles in romantic comedies, that’s really all the uniqueness it really has to offer. There are so many opportunities here to take subversive turns through this new perspective that just aren’t followed through on. Also, Apatow’s typical pacing problems are back again, needlessly extending this fairly simple story to two hours when it does not need to be. While there are certainly some scenes here that are absolutely hysterical, for every one of those there are three that just sink.
Trainwreck certainly has it’s shining moments, and is certainly good for a few hearty laughs. However, it’s also plagued by just how generic it ends up being, particularly disappointing considering the talent involved. It seems as though Apatow made this movie more as a favor, not putting forth the effort in his direction that we usually see from his work. I have no doubt that Schumer has a long career ahead of her in film, but hopefully when we look back on it, this will be the first adorable little stumble out of the gate of a great run. One thing is for sure, it’s certainly not a Trainwreck, because seeing one of those can be rather hard to forget.