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Movie Review: ‘Trainwreck’

(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

“Trainwreck” Directed by Judd Apatow Universal Pictures

By Sebastian Torrelio

July 13, 2015 7:52 a.m.

“Trainwreck” is not Judd Apatow’s best movie.

The distinction still goes to “Knocked Up,” a consistent and organic comedy known for its explosive hilarity.

In the midst of a dry summer season for comedy, “Trainwreck” is a female-driven movie that, in great Apatow form, comments on the realities of the sexual mindset in a world, much like our own, where sex isn’t everything – it’s just the most important thing. Apatow hasn’t made anything as funny or as relatable as “Knocked Up” since, but “Trainwreck” is Apatow’s solid attempt at trying.

“Trainwreck” is Apatow’s first directorial effort he didn’t also write. The script comes from feminist juggernaut Amy Schumer, who also stars as Amy, a woman whose main personality trait is her inability to see the value in monogamy. She sleeps with men whenever the opportunity arises but never takes them seriously, going from one one-night stand to another without any desire for a further investigation into the romantic lifestyle.

Her job as a magazine writer leads her to conduct an interview with Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a sports doctor whose job allows for the cameos of numerous recognizable athletes, none of whom Amy recognize.The story follows as Amy finds herself further and further out of her element: Sports aren’t her forte, and neither are relationships, a concept she is forced to deal with quickly and effectively as Aaron, the nice-guy archetype, becomes more and more prevalent in her life.

Schumer is the best part of “Trainwreck,” a movie that, under all intentions, should serve as her cinematic tour de force. Known for her work in “Inside Amy Schumer,” a sketch television show that seems to grow steadily in popularity with every passing second, Schumer hits every punchline like a seasoned veteran.

In the film, Schumer finds a good balance between the funny core of her film and the interluding emotional moments. Hader joins her on this pedestal, as does everyone on the extensive cast list of “Trainwreck”: Vanessa Bayer, Brie Larson, John Cena, an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton and several more actors all get their flattering share of joke time. LeBron James, who has a significant supporting role as a penny-pinching version of himself, is the obvious scene-stealer.

“Trainwreck” never does anything entirely wrong with its cast and material, which is the biggest step to comedy film dominance. Amy goes from the independent woman phase to the confused lover phase to the accepting-of-her-problems phase like every romance novel protagonist before her, but with a heightened sense of cleverness and a knack for drinking booze at all hours of the day.

What keeps “Trainwreck” from reaching new heights is how excruciatingly safe it is. The easiest comparison to make is to Schumer’s own series. Week after week, “Inside Amy Schumer” proves that Schumer has the ability to lambast the gender problems and standards of the world in witty, refreshing skits that serve both as viral entertainment and artful criticisms.

“Trainwreck” reflects nearly none of the daring qualities that she has become known for, playing through every rom-com expectation with almost no hint of surprise or critical commentary along the way.

All things considered, “Trainwreck” is funny, sweet and heartfelt enough to be gracefully accepted into the comedy lexicon of today’s young adults; it’s just a little disappointing considering the talent on hand. Apatow’s career seems to have gone that way, with films that lack the original flair of the “Freaks and Geeks” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” type of projects that made him a household name.

Schumer’s career, in the grand scheme of things, is still in its early days. She’ll need to enhance her image to truly claim the “Queen of Comedy” label that she has been given so frequently as of late, but “Trainwreck” is a very promising note of things to come.

– Sebastian Torrelio

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Sebastian Torrelio
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