There's Something about Amy
Not yet on the Amy Schumer bandwagon? If the comedienne’s steady rise to cultural notoriety on such shows as Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and her numerous turns at the mic on awards programs and comedy clubs have yet to ping your entertainment radar, there’s still time to catch the funny girl before she breaks out in the biggest of ways.
She writes and stars in Trainwreck, a script that impressed producer Judd Apatow so much that he changed course as producer and decided to direct the film, marking the first time the director/producer has helmed a film he hadn’t authored. Credited with breaking such new comedy faces on the scene as Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Lena Dunham, there’s no question Apatow has an eye for comedic talent, and next up in his raunch-com stable of go-to performers is Amy Schumer.
In Trainwreck she is Amy, a New York-based writer at S’Nuff, a sleazy online Maxim-style men’s magazine. The disdain she holds for men and relationships was likely formed at an early age by a rapscallion of a father (Colin Quinn) who ingrained in her and sister Kim (Brie Larson) that monogamy isn’t a realistic human characteristic. Of course, hard partying, pot smoking, and sexual encounters with a lot of people does very little to endear her to men, but she’s fooled herself into believing she’s happiest being single on her own terms.
We’ve seen this type of comedy before -- what happens when two people fall in love and are forced to face the fears of commitment head on. With Trainwreck, however, the script is flipped by giving us not only a view from the woman’s perspective but from the perspective of a woman who is the one afraid to do the committing.
Assigned to write an article on famed sports doctor Aaron Connors (Bill Hader), Amy becomes attracted to the doctor and finds herself falling in love, an emotion with which she has little to no experience. Sure, there was the short-term romance with muscle-head John (John Cena), but this one feels different.
Unfamiliar with these discomforting things called emotions and knowing exactly what’s coming next, Amy seeks solace and advice from her happily-married sister, while dorky Aaron confers with his sensitive friend and sports patient LeBron James (playing himself), a die-hard Downton Abbey romantic. The remainder of the film’s screen time (which runs about a half hour too long) covers Amy and Aaron’s strange but blossoming relationship as an abundant but interesting set of supporting characters (most assuredly from input by Apatow) carries us from scene to scene.
Amy and Kim’s father is suffering from MS in a long-term care facility while Amy tutors a baby-faced intern (Ezra Miller) at the magazine headed by editor Dianna played by a nearly unrecognizable Tilda Swinton who ingrains in her staff that the purpose of their mission is to create a magazine that not only teaches the 21st century male how to think, dress, and eat, but how to fornicate as well.
Trainwreck is as funny as we expected, driven by Schumer’s acerbic brand of sarcastic wit and spot-on mannerisms. She even nails the extreme physical comedy in a closing bit as a New York Knicks cheerleader. But all-too-often, those brilliantly hilarious moments that skewer the hypocrisy of our socially accepted norms in grand Schumer style, clash against tiresome bits that might play better as home video extra features and deleted scenes. We often go from busting a gut one moment, to taking an awkward sip of soda as the house falls silent during the next. One particular scene involving Marv Albert, Chris Evert, and Matthew Broderick especially misses the mark, nearly bringing everything to a screeching halt.
It’s worth pointing out that with Trainwreck, we finally have a film that bucks the trend of its trailer ruining all the best jokes and funny bits. Many of the scenes featured in the Trainwreck trailer use a different cut than in the movie. A nice touch and one that we’d like to see catch on.
(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “R” for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.)
Review also posted at www.franksreelreviews.com.