When I heard they were making a movie called Trainwreck, I was interested. After the Tenacious D movie (Jack Black) about a heavy metal/folk band, I thought this was about their guitarist Kyle Gass and his side project Trainwreck. I was thrilled to find out it was actually the first movie Amy Schumer wrote and starred in. Her show Inside Amy Schumer is hysterical. Yet this time, she’s teaming up with director Judd Apatow.
This trainwreck, strangely enough, stays on the rails and follows that familiar rom-com trajectory. It starts to go off the rails a bit in the 3rd act, but by then we laughed enough to forgive it.
The opening scene with Colin Quinn playing a dad in the ‘80s explaining divorce to his two daughters was so funny, the crowd laughed loud enough to keep you from hearing dialogue. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t keep up that pace.
One of the pleasant surprises was seeing a lot of stand-up comedians in small roles. Dave Attell has some good lines as a homeless guy Amy jokes with.
Mike Birbiglia (Sleepwalk with Me) plays the schlubby husband of sister Brie Larson.
Keith Robinson has a few great lines as a patron in a movie theatre that’s tired of all the talking.
I also noticed Jim Florentine, Leslie Jones, and Tim Meadows, all with smaller roles.
Amy sleeps around, drinks too much, smokes weed, and is often rude. We like her though, because she’s funny. In real life, we’d probably despise such a person.
She meets an orthopedic surgeon (SNL’s Bill Hader), when she’s forced to write a story on him.
It’s one of the rare roles of his that didn’t work. Usually he cracks me up. His acting was good in The Skeleton Twins, but the movie was awful. In this, we’re not really sure why he’s falling for her so fast. There comes a point when she asks why he likes her, and in the audience, you’ll scratch your head and wonder the same thing.
One of the best actresses in the business – Tilda Swinton – is good in the role, but her character is written so unrealistically over-the-top that it takes the fun out of what would’ve been a great evil boss character.
Everyone is praising LeBron James, and he does have a few good lines (“No penetration without representation” as his way of saying you need a prenup); yet there are problems with him in this. At times, the character is a bit too much like Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire. Other times, we don’t buy that he’d want to pal around with Hader and watch Downton Abbey. And somebody needs to explain how he can always be in New York when he plays in Cleveland.
There were some sports cameos that worked. Chris Evert has a great line flirting with Hader. A’mare Stoudemire is an athlete that’s about to have knee surgery from Hader. The best was pro wrestler John Cena, who stole the scenes he was in. One of the funniest is when Amy asks him to talk dirty while they have sex. What he says is laugh out loud funny. Schumer is a talented enough writer that she has the scene go on, and it just keeps getting funnier with every new thing Cena says; although that scene, and at least two others, are bits she did on her TV show.
Other times, the writing felt lazy. As if they could just throw out a few dick jokes and that would be fine. Schumer is such a brilliant comedian, I expect more from her. That being said, for every bit that didn’t work, there were a few that did. I’m fine with that ratio for a comedy. Not to mention the fact that the packed crowd completely disagreed with me. Just like Bridesmaids, they laughed at every scene. Even the ones I didn’t find funny.
For example, the movie within a movie, was called The Dogwalker. It starred Daniel Radcliffe as a dog walker and Marisa Tomei as a desperate dog owner. There wasn’t a single humorous thing about that, unless we’re just supposed to laugh at the fact that it’s Harry Potter, or filmed in black-and-white like some artsy indie flick.
Often times, movies within movies are fun. Jason Segal had a great one a few years ago. Burn After Reading had a great one. The key to that is still writing funny material for those characters. Just the sight of Radcliffe walking five dogs isn’t enough.
There was a scene with Hader and Lebron playing basketball that is mildly cute, but that same scene was cute when Saturday Night Live did it in the ‘70s with Paul Simon playing one-on-one with NBA star Connie Hawkins.
Again, for every scene that fell flat, I can name five that worked.
One character saying she slept with “three quarters of Pink Floyd,” or while watching the Knicks cheerleaders, Schumer yelling, “You’re gonna lose us the right to vote.”
And I’m always up for a Michael Jackson joke. It was great hearing writers and editors of a magazine come up with a story pitch for, “Where are they now…the Michael Jackson kids.” (the follow up line is a cute throw-away, too).
Audiences are going to proclaim this the best comedy of the year. Hell, critics might, too. It’s already getting early high scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
I was just a bit disappointed because her TV show is funnier and more thought provoking.
This gets 3 stars out of 5.