Tuesday 3 July 2018

Movie Review: Trainwreck (2015)

A raunchy romantic comedy, Trainwreck asks whether wild girls also deserve an opportunity to find true love.

As young girls, sisters Amy and Kim Townsend witnessed their parents divorce and were lectured by their father Gordon (Colin Quinn) that monogamy is an unrealistic expectation. 23 years later, Amy (Amy Schumer) is a magazine writer in New York City, living the wild single life, drinking heavily, smoking weed, and sleeping with a succession of men behind the back of her superficial boyfriend Steven (John Cena). Meanwhile, Kim (Brie Larson) has settled down and is starting a family.

Amy receives an assignment from her editor Dianna (Tilda Swinton) to interview sports Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), who has devised better surgery procedures to mend the knees of world famous athletes. Despite being polar opposites, Amy and Aaron start to fall in love, threatening Amy's carefree attitude towards life. At the same time Gordon moves into a long term care facility, and his ailing health also forces Amy to reassess his influence and her priorities.

Written by Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck is a modestly successful attempt to spice up the rom-com genre with a wayward woman at its centre. Having taken her father's advice to heart, Amy is the antithesis of women usually plonked into the middle of a romance. Amy is a foul-mouthed party girl, living life on her own terms, hurting others with her me-first behaviour and straight talk, and looking down upon anyone settling for settling down, starting with her sister.

With Schumer in top comedic form, the jokes arrive at a fast and furious pace, and about half of them hit the target. Amy is at her best offering wry commentary at her own expense or saying it like it is in front of an aghast audience. Much less successful are some cameos by the likes of Chris Evert, Marv Albert and Matthew Broderick, offering nothing but bloat. Basketball stars LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire also appear as themselves but fare better and actually contribute some laughs.

Trainwreck gets caught in possession with a central character who is likeable because she's crude and who literally refuses to actually sleep with anyone after sex. It's an emotional dead end if the objective is a happy ending, and for all the raw honesty infused into the character of Amy, fundamentally the film collapses specifically because the romance between Amy and Aaron is based on nothing other than script requirements.

A top-notch celebrated surgeon to the stars and a foul-mouthed trainwreck falling for each other simply does not convince, and neither of them demonstrates any capacity for genuine change to accommodate the other. Either Amy stays true to herself and alone, or softens her edges to be loved. Back on the rails, perhaps, but betraying herself and much less fun.

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