By James Hancock July 17th, 2015
Judd Apatow’s new film Trainwreck is the perfect vehicle for underlining what fans of Amy Schumer already know, namely that Amy Schumer is one of the funniest comedians working today and one who deserves to be a household name. Working from a screenplay written by Amy Schumer, Trainwreck pillages some of Schumer’s best bits from her stand up and repurposes them for a narrative film that showcases her best qualities as a comedian. For fans of stand up comedy the movie features a who’s who of today’s best comics from Colin Quinn to Dave Attell. Professional wrestler John Cena surprisingly steals every scene in which he appears, displaying comedic chops I would have never thought he possessed. For the first 30 minutes or so, I was convinced that I was watching Judd Apatow’s funniest movie to date, but cynical bastard that I am, I never stopped watching my internal ticking clock as it counted down to when the movie would inevitably become a generic, by-the-numbers romantic comedy about learning to grow up, getting over one’s intimacy/maturity issues, and finding true love. Sadly, my fears were confirmed and I spent much of the 2 hour running time punching myself in the face, squirming in frustration as I watched scene after scene of nauseating sentimentality.
The problems start when Bill Hader enters the picture. I’m a massive fan of Hader and think he is one of the funniest men alive, but the part he plays could have been played by anyone able to stand upright and hit one’s marks. From my tone you can probably guess how I feel about most romantic comedies, and fans of the genre should not be put off by my negativity. I suspect that Trainwreck is going to be a massive hit. It is the perfect date movie for any aging couple who wants to feel as if they are being naughty by watching an irreverent, scandalous comedy when in actuality they are watching a heartwarming chick flick in disguise. They know it and the filmmakers know it, but both sides agree to pretend as if they are having a wild experience. What frustrates me as a fan of Amy Schumer is knowing how completely fearless she is in her stand up routine. I’ve stood in line to see her many times at the Comedy Cellar and I’m absolutely thrilled that she is finding a wider audience. But I have to say that for her debut feature film, she has chosen the safe, conservative path with a predictable love story. In the second half of the movie, the comedy disappears almost entirely except for the occasional one-liner thrown in to prevent assholes like myself from getting up and leaving the theater. From a business decision, Amy Schumer probably made the smart play but I can’t help but suspect that Amy Schumer the stand up comedian would absolutely skewer the movie if she were just a member of the audience. People who love Rom-Coms will likely point out that stubbornly single guys like myself are probably the people that need to see a movie like this the most. The movie tackles each and every issue facing someone who is still single in their 30s. My only counter would be that as a lover of movies I try and stay single out of total, irrational paranoia of being trapped into seeing more movies like this one on a regular basis and having to pretend as if I enjoy them.
I am one of the Co-Hosts of Wrong Reel and you can find our content here: