Friday 14 August 2015

Review: Trainwreck

World of Blackout Film Review

Trainwreck Poster

Cert: 15 / 125 mins / Dir. Judd Apatow / Trailer
WoB Rating: 4/7

'From the guy who brought you Bridesmaids' boasts the poster for Judd Apatow's Trainwreck. Well firstly, he was only a producer on the movie, which (generally) is like attributing the production of your main course to the waiter who brings it to your table. Secondly, he's also "the guy" who brought us This is 40 and The Five-Year Engagement, so let's not get too fucking excited, eh?

Okay, perhaps that's overly cautious for the producer whose name was also on the fantastic Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but it's caution well earned for a Gross-out Comedy™ which also clambers over commitment, bereavement and self-confidence in its quest for a workable resolution. Like the weakest of Apatow's films, Trainwreck rarely feels like more than a collection of assembled sketches. Frequently very funny and occasionally very charming sketches, but in need of another draft, stronger narrative direction and an editor who's not afraid to trim the edges. It could really do with being about 20 minutes shorter, but in its current form that would do more harm than good.

That's not to say the film isn't amiable enough (no pun intended, because…), and Amy Schumer is the best of a very good cast, here. But the piñata of emotionally affecting comedy remains just out of reach, to the point where Trainwreck spends most of its second-act wishing it was Chasing Amy. Chasing Chasing Amy, if you will. The story's main dynamic, the relationship between Amy and Bill Hader's Aaron, isn't given enough attention to feel convincing, and the sub-plot with her care-home-ridden father feels tacked on, too, trying to inject some pathos to punctuate the laugher; except the laughter is already sporadic enough that it's not needed.

The committment-issues which should be the heart of the film remain unexplored, like the screenplay doesn't have the guts to wade any more than ankle-deep into those waters, and doesn't have the cojones to make Amy as 'out-of-control' as she's meant to be.

1) Worryingly, this is yet another studio-comedy where the only person who needs (or indeed seems) to 'change' for the final act is the lead female character; because being an interesting, funny and non-threateningly-attractive woman simply isn't good enough when you can stop having fun and be a bad cheerleader. All she needed was the right man to show her how wrong she'd been.
2) Distressingly, this is the character that Amy Schumer wrote for herself (even Apatow can't shoulder that one). And it's a shame, because Schumer's on great form in this movie with not enough to do.

It's faintly ironic that Amy's character Amy spends the film trying too hard to be something she's not. That's sort of the point of the movie, but at the same time you wonder if the lesson has been lost on those who need it most.

Certainly not the disaster the title jokingly implies, but it's definitely 'two lanes cordoned off and enforced speed restrictions'. Trainwreck isn't the vehicle for Amy.

That said, it's full of dick-jokes; you'll probably like it.

Is this film worth paying £10+ to see?
It's worth seeing, but it's not worth top-dollar. Cheap-Tuesday perhaps?

Well, I don't like the cinema. Buy it, rent it, or wait for it to be on telly?
You won't get more than two or three watches out of it, so a rental will suffice.

Does this film represent the best work of the leading performer(s)?
Everyone's on great form here, they just don't have enough content to fill the run-time.

Oh, and why is Matthew Broderick in it as himself?
Is this part of a running gag that was cut at every other scene?

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Sadly, not as much as it'd like.
Not as much as I'd like, either

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not really.

Oh, and is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

…but what's the Star Wars connection?
Amy Schumer appeared in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, a film which starred Keira 'Sabé Knightley.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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