Trainwreck Review

Posted: December 27, 2015 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PG Cooper's Movie Reviews

trainwreckWritten by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

In 2011, a little comedy called Bridesmaids was met with a rapturous response from critics and audiences, launched a few careers, and started a trend of R-rated comedies driven by women instead of men. It should be noted however that while most of the comedies Bridesmaids inspired where modest successes, none of them really had the enduring popularity as that film. I’m not sure if the female driven comedies of 2015 have that popularity either, but they’ve certainly left more of an impression than the likes of Identity Thief or Tammy. The action-comedy Spy garnered Melissa McCarthy’s most enthusiastic response since Bridesmaids, while romantic comedy Trainwreck helped solidify Amy Schumer has one of comedy’s most important voices (while also being something of a comeback for director Judd Apatow). From my perspective, neither of these movies seemed all that appealing, mostly due to what I found to be very unfunny trailers. However both films were really well-received so it would only be fair to give them a chance. And to my pleasant surprise, both films have turned out to actually be pretty solid.

At a young age, Amy Townsend witnessed the divorce of her parents and learned a valuable lesson; monogamy is for chumps. As an adult, Amy (Amy Schumer) embraces a lifestyle of hook-ups, one night stands, and partying. It should be noted that her life is not one of complete debauchery; Amy isn’t totally careless in who she has sex with or with the substances she chooses to use. Amy also has a pretty good job for a men’s lifestyle magazine. One day, Amy is assigned to write a piece on sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). Amy has no interest in sports, but the two hit it off which leads to a one-night stand. Aaron however wishes to pursue the relationship beyond one night, something which challenges Amy’s typical lifestyle. The two do begin dating though, and the film follows their struggles as they figure out their relationships.

This was my big introduction to Amy Schumer and I gotta say I’m pretty impressed. She has really great comedic delivery, her improve lines are often quite funny, and she can play off her co-stars very well. I was also surprised by the acting chops Schumer shows off here. She creates a fully formed character in Amy Townsend, handles the arc very well, and nails some genuinely effective emotional beats. It’s a star making performance and I look forward to seeing her in more comedies. With that said, the cast as a whole works well. Bill Hader is a smart choice as the love interest as his personality does clash somewhat with Amy’s and the dude also brings some funny material himself. Like most modern comedies, the film also makes use of a lot of cameos and they prove really funny here. John Cena shows up briefly in the first act as a casual boyfriend of Amy’s whose also a gym rat and he makes the most of a limited screen time. Some of the biggest laughs in the film come from Cena. I also quite liked LeBron James (who plays himself) and his casual friendship with Bill Hader’s character brings some laughs too. Solid work is also done by Brie Larson, Erza Miller, Randal Park, and others.

Trainwreck is an often very funny film with a great cast, but I don’t want to oversell its success. At the end of the day, the film follows the romantic comedy formula to a tee, particularly in the third act. The central couple have the misunderstanding and break-up right when you expect it and the film also ends on the grand gesture that many rom-coms do. These clichéd moments are also often where the comedy is at its weakest. The aforementioned grand gesture is especially stupid and probably flattest any joke falls. Additionally, while I did laugh pretty consistently throughout, the film lacks the really big laughs to really put it over the top.

As a movie, Trainwreck doesn’t really do anything new, and it also isn’t funny enough to qualify as something great. That said, it is funny enough to be an entertaining and recommendable effort. I know I certainly enjoyed my time with it and I think most people looking for a funny and breezy watch will enjoy it too.

B-

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