Daily Archives: July 18, 2015

Movie Review – Trainwreck (2015)

A hard partying, traditional lifestyle loathing gal is forced to face her fear of commitment when she meets a man worth committing to.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Amy Schumer’s comedy Trainwreck.

SPOILERS ahead that will totally wreck your good time if you haven’t seen it yet.

Trainwreck – Movieclips Trailers

3.5 Readers, let me start with this:

I LOVE AMY SCHUMER.

Male or Female, I think she’s the funniest comedian out there right now.

Her Comedy Central show, Inside Amy Schumer, regularly leaves me in stitches.  In particular, two sketches she put out this season have caused her stock to rise:

  • Last F*&kable Day – Amy has a picnic with Julia Louis Dreyfus, Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette and hilariously discuss how the media puts an expiration date of female actresses, leaving them unable to play anything other than frumpy mother types whereas male actors are left to play leading men until a ripe old age.  (“Remember how Sally Field played Tom Hanks’ love interest in Punchline and then five minutes later she was his mom in Forrest Gump?”)
  • Twelve Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer – In a parody of the classic jury deliberation film, twelve men deliberate whether or not Amy is hot enough to be allowed on TV, thus pointing out how women are often judged more on their looks than what actual talents and qualities they have to offer.

But before you rush to label her some kind of radical feminist, keep in mind she’s an equal opportunist when it comes to dishing the dirt, and in this reviewer’s eyes, there’s no better sign of a great comic than pulling no punches.

In other words, while she’s been great at pointing out difficulties women go through, she also gets men have it tough at times as well.  Thus, there’s the sketch where she dons the guise of a karate sensei and educates men on how to verbally spar with their angry girlfriends (“She will be unable to defy the authority of therapy and Oprah”)  or the sketch where women walk through the “Museum of Boyfriend Outfits” and react to various bad outfits worn by boyfriends as if they were some of history’s greatest atrocities. (In other words, sometimes women judge men a bit too harshly as well).

In short, she’s great.  I’m a big fan.  A big, big fan.

That’s why it’s hard for me to say answer this question:

Is this a good movie?

Answer:  It depends.

If you’re going because you love her TV show and were hoping this movie was going to be Amy’s big break to knock it out of the park, then you might be disappointed.

At least I was.

I judge comedies based on one question:

Did it make me laugh?

Answer:  Only a few times, and mostly at characters other than Amy’s.

Laughter is the most honest of emotional reactions.  Either something tickles your funny bone or it doesn’t.

For the most part, this didn’t.

Everyone’s sense of humor is different.  You might disagree and love it.

Colin Quinn doesn’t disappoint as Amy’s dad, Gordon, the womanizing commitment phobe whose bad example sets Amy up for a lifetime of cheap one-night stands and avoidance of any real intimacy.

Surprisingly, NBA superstar LeBron James steals the show.

Often times, sports star cameos in movies are flat.  Athletes aren’t trained in the theatrical arts, after all.  But LeBron, who plays himself as the friend of sports doctor Aaron (Amy’s love interest), turned in a funny performance that left me feeling like he was comfortable in front of a camera.

Hell, if this basketball thing ever stops working for him, he has a second career waiting for him as a thespian.

But while Colin and LeBron provided me with some chuckles, Amy just didn’t razzle my dazzle in this one.

Am I being too hard on her?  Maybe.  Maybe it’s just because her show is so great that I was expecting to roll in the aisles for this movie.  Maybe I built it up too much in my head.

Or maybe gut busting laughter wasn’t what the film was meant to be about, because if your goal in seeing it is to take in a sweet romance (albeit with R rated debauchery mixed in), it does actually deliver.

The theme that ties the movie together?  People today are so interested in petty nonsense that doesn’t matter.  Looks.  Status. Fashion.

Amy works at a stereotypically fluff magazine where she and her co-workers write catty articles that judge people all day.

But as the story points out, if you’re too focused on getting drunk and random hook-ups, then you might let someone who’d bring a lot of joy into your life pass you by.

There’s been a bunch of movies where the man is the one who needs to tone down his playboy lifestyle in order to let a special lady into his heart.  Here, Amy puts a modern twist on that old rom-com trope by being the woman who needs to decide whether meaningless trysts are worth passing up a good life with a wonderful man who’d do anything for her.

For me, the scene that makes the movie work comes when Amy’s nephew asks his aunt whether or not she likes Aaron.  Amy stumbles, says yes, but then starts to go into a longwinded explanation as to why that’s not enough, but the kid just interrupts with a, “Why don’t you invite him over?”

TRANSLATION:  So many potentially great relationships hid the skids when people talk themselves into dumping people they like for silly, superficial reasons.

If two people like each other and get along, they need to hold onto each other for dear life, because those kinds of relationships are hard to find.  If passed up, they rarely, if ever, come along again, at least not anytime soon.

STATUS:  C- Comedy.  B+ Love Story.  Amy and Bill get a chance to display their acting chops.  Not the knockout I hoped it would be, but don’t feel too bad for Amy.  Her mug’s all over the place these days.

Not shelf-worthy but worth a rental.

(But for the record, few people in the entertainment industry have done more to champion the idea that people shouldn’t be judged based on their looks than Amy Schumer, so on that note, A+)

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