I found it funny that Paul Rudd and Judd Apatow used to make movies together all the time, and now each of them had their own movie come out in the same weekend. Anyone else chuckle? Nope, just me? Alright, well…onto the review.
“Trainwreck” is the latest film from director Judd Apatow, and is the first film he directed that isn’t written by him. Stepping in the writer’s shoes is Amy Schumer, who also stars. When a commitment-phobic working woman (Schumer) meets a sports doctor (Bill Hader), she begins to wonder if she has been living her life wrong. I know that plot sounds like near every rom-com ever, but as you’ll find out (by reading!), the film overcomes that. OK, moving on.
I’m a middling fan of Judd Apatow’s work. I enjoy all of his films about the same, but while they all often scratch greatness, they fail to reach their full potential. “Trainwreck” isn’t going to be a film I remember and reference for years to come, however it may be Apatow’s best film to date.
As I said above, the story of the film is pretty cliché; everything you think is going to happen will happen. So for the movie to succeed, it needed to be able to provide something extra, and “Trainwreck” does just that by having relatable moments, self-deprecation and a surprising amount of dramatic heft.
Amy Schumer, who has been on fire as of late and is being touted as a trailblazer for women in comedy, is very good in her first starring film role. She essentially is playing the version of herself that she jokes about in her standup, being the heavy drinker who goes home with any guy from the bar that she wants. She does a surprisingly tender work in some of the film’s more dramatic scenes, too, and until she becomes Melissa McCarthy and beats us over the head with her presence, I welcome more Amy Schumer in my life.
Doing fine work in supporting roles are Bill Hader (who I always forget how charming his is) and LeBron James, who plays a fictionalized version of himself. Hader does his normal deadpan nice guy routine, and LeBron makes a lot of references to Cleveland and the NBA, which I’m sure were entered specifically for the guys who are dragged to this by their girlfriends and wives (not to say the movie as a whole isn’t full of jokes for everyone).
The biggest problems with the film are the issues found in all Apatow films, in that there are plenty of scenes that exist for the sake of one joke, and if cut wouldn’t change the plot at all. And even though the runtime is two hours, just like with every one of his films you walk out feeling like the film lasted much longer than it actually did. The climax somewhat drags before suddenly ending, but it doesn’t derail the film (ha! “Derailed”! I didn’t even try and make that train wreck reference! I’m hilarious even when I don’t even mean to be…).
I enjoyed a lot about “Trainwreck,” and even if the plot is cliché and the narrative a bit rough around the edges, those flaws are mostly redeemed by charming actors and a smart script. How much fun you get out of the film really depends on how many raunchy jokes you can handle, but seeing as this is Apatow’s fifth directorial effort, you should know what to expect by now.
Critics Rating: 8/10