Monday, July 20, 2015
Starring: Amy Schumer and Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins)
Director: Judd Apatow (This Is 40)
U.S. Release: July 17th, 2015 (Rated R)
Runtime: 125 minutes
Over the course of the past decade Judd Apatow has quickly evolved into Hollywood's face of comedy. The writer, director and producer has had his hand in many of the funniest films and television shows that we've encountered in recent memory. But when it comes to Apatow's pet projects, the movies he directs and holds complete control over, you can sense his desperate desire to pack a dramatic punch. For better or worse (and in most cases, worse), this fixation with tapping into his audience's emotions inevitably launches his films past the two-hour threshold and loses sight of what we're all seeking from a prototypical Judd Apatow film ... to laugh.
Comedian Amy Schumer takes center stage as a carefree and uninhibited magazine writer who finds zero comfort in settling down with a man. But as she jumps from bedroom to bedroom, nothing can prepare her for the complexities she faces when she experiences a romantic evening the subject of her latest article, a prestigious sports surgeon named Aaron Conners (played by Bill Hader), who instantly falls for her. And as their relationship slowly begins to blossom, Amy struggles with changing her natural unencumbered perception of life.
Despite Amy Schumer's admirable efforts, Trainwreck fails to establish a clear tone. In fact, the film is indisputably advertised as a comedy, but it plays to a much more dramatic rhythm. And while Apatow manages to develop a few spectacular and moving onscreen moments at the hands of his talented leading star, these highlights are merely sprinkled throughout an outstretched two hour affair. Unfortunately, the jokes are almost non-existent and it's inexcusable. Outside of a few obviously improvised and ineffective attempts at eliciting laughs, Trainwreck glosses over the humor and attempts to lure in the audience with a touching romantic story that never fully commits to the approach. Consequently, the film hangs in limbo and never rises to the occasion on either side of the spectrum.
For all of the movie's structural shortcomings, Trainwreck does serve as a coming out party for the versatile talent, Amy Schumer. In a bit of a twist, the comedian's emotional diversity far exceeds her improvised jokes. Therefore, Schumer should find a fair amount of future success in her transition to a big-screen actress. Along with Schumer, Bill Hader serves as a strong counterpart and the always magnificent Brie Larson also shines in a supporting role. And although Trainwreck pieces together some fine performances, LeBron James should really just stick to basketball.
As expected with any Apatow film these days, Trainwreck possesses many ups and downs throughout an over-extended story. Yet, unlike the Apatow films we've enjoyed in the past, the laughs aren't right around the corner to pick you up through the sluggish moments. I will applaud the film for proving to be one of Apatow's most exceptional dramatic examinations, as it finishes strongly with a charming and memorable finale, However, Trainwreck is light-years away from a comedy classic and plays more like a middling chick flick.
Stars: 2 stars out of 4