Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck (2015)
  • Time: 122 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Judd Apatow
  • Cast: Colin Quinn, Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson


Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s head by her rascal of a dad that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo – enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment – but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners, Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.


  • OK. So I’ve made some observations about 2015’s Trainwreck (my latest review). Note to LeBron James and John Cena: You guys are the top tier in your sport (NBA basketball and WWE wrestling respectively) but your acting still needs a little work. John, I’m not sure if it’s the dialogue you’ve been saddled with or your improvised line delivery, but you come off as unfunny while everything you say seems relatively cogent. Note to Amar’e Stoudemire: You aren’t really an actor either but your cameo in “Wreck” (with hardly any lines) outshines James and Cena profusely. I’m not saying you’re Lawrence Olivier but keep up the good work. Note to the New York Knicks organization: Just because you are talked up in this flick doesn’t mean we as an audience, don’t know that your team is still kind of in the crapper. Finally, note to director Judd Apatow: We know you like the concept of raunchiness (you speak of it in interviews) but you need to hire a screenwriter who doesn’t let said raunchy scenes get out of control while dragging on too long. People don’t interact with a vulgar nature in every adult situation (especially during weddings, baby showers, and professional business meetings), and believable sex scenes don’t involve one party being fully clothed. Now granted, Trainwreck is your latest release, it’s gonna make a lot of money (I could tell from an opening day screening), and I give you credit for turning virtual unknowns into leading men and woman (Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, and currently, Amy Schumer). For me though, this is a mixed bag. And I shed a tear knowing that it could have been so much better.

    Now as a vehicle, Trainwreck involves a thirty-year old woman who sleeps around until finally finding the man of her dreams. In the cannon of Apatow’s filmography, it’s a step below 2007’s Knocked Up and 2012’s This Is 40 (both of these films were funnier, seemed like they had more of a script, and didn’t strain for comic transgression). “Wreck” is more on par with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, an exercise that doesn’t equal a movie so much as a series of drawn-out, earthy scenes. Yeah its story is more coherent but it’s improv to the max and overlong (an Apatow affidavit). As for the courtship between the characters of Schumer’s Amy and Bill Hader’s Aaron Conners (a big time sports doctor and said dream guy), well it’s simply not believable. These people are polar opposites and there’s no evidence to say that they could ever function as a couple (despite giving them a two hour running time to prove it). (Spoiler Alert) then there’s the ending which is pretty predictable (you just knew these crazy kids would end up together). To my dismay though, I was surprised by how unique it was (just think cheerleaders dancing at Madison Square Garden). That doesn’t negate Apatow from being Apatow. He would rather have his cast members talking like perverted sheep than showing some unadulterated emotion. He likes everything ostentatious but I wish he would just grow up.

    In conclusion, I was surprised by how deep Trainwreck tried to project itself (don’t let the trailer fool you). This is not necessarily a comedy (especially towards the second and third act). It deals with depression, death in the family, drug use, and of course, promiscuity (which actually just occurs in the first half-hour or so). For what it’s worth, Amy Schumer is the best thing going for it. Her character is real, multilayered, and has issues. Her performance here deserves a better movie, one with an actual script and not ad libs. As an actress, she’s likable, strangely attractive, and backed up with some good supporting work (Brie Larson as Amy’s sister, acts with her eyes, and as usual, is solid). However, this numbing movie is indeed, a “trainwreck”. Apatow like in Knocked Up (remember the scene a la a baby coming out of the womb), wants to gross you out with close-ups of someone getting stitches and a flask knee being operating on graphically (to the Billy Joel jam, “Uptown Girl”). He’s the frat boy version of John Waters, a real jester.

    Of note: Trainwreck didn’t pulverize me with its negligible comedic vibe but I chuckled heavily twice. There’s a cameo-laden sequence involving Matthew Broderick, Chris Evert, and Marv Albert. It had to do with some sort of intervention (Evert says the word c**kblocker, I’m not kidding). Also, look for a scene where Schumer walks on a treadmill and has her body type plastered via a large computer screen. It’s crazy sexy cool and sort of reinvents the whole “Hitler” walk (I felt squeamish but still laughed nervously).

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck is a romantic comedy that stakes out a new position in the feminist reworking of American film.
    Most obviously, Schumer’s comedy has a candour and profanity traditionally reserved for men. Like her TV show and standup, her riffs are transgressive bawdry. Her candour about cunnilingus, tampons and erections are tabu-turning cases in point.
    The three women of Snuff magazine establish the spectrum. Boss Dianna (Tilda Swinton) is the woman executive taught that success requires her to be like a man. Amy seems feminine in comparison, soft, recessive, but still stronger than Nikki, whose nerves — outside the women’s toilet stalls — reduces her to a girlish titter. Nikki apologetically backs into the editorial promotion when Amy is fired for supposedly molesting an underage masochistic male intern. On this spectrum Amy struggles to find her integral balance of male and female. The two male writers reflect the same contrast between macho and effeminate.
    Naming a men’s magazine Snuff clearly plays with the idea manliness kills. Hence Amy’s line to the super endowed man: “Have you fucked before? Where is she buried?” Amy is limited by her masculine traits. She was brainwashed by her father’s conviction that “Monogamy is unnatural.” Where her sister outgrew that mantra to become a fulfilled wife and mother, Amy stuck at promiscuity and insecurity. She has the conventional male fear of commitment, urge to leave after sex, need to control the relationship.
    She reduces her men’s sexuality to her immediate needs. The super-endowed pickup is thwarted when she falls asleep after her brisk orgasm. When her “ice sculpture” boyfriend gets into a quarrel at the cinema she feeds him lines that make him seem gay.
    Amy is saved from her insularity by her interview assignment with sports doctor Aaron (Bill Hader). He’s idealized by his work for Doctors Without Borders and his fame as a major sports surgeon. Here the man plays the nurturing healer role, domesticating the uncontrolled sexuality of — completing the reversal — the woman. Hader’s lunch scene with Lebron James is a male parody of he Women’s Lunch, from their discussion of relationships and emotions to their careful parsing of the check.
    When Dr Aaron is served with an intervention he faces a range of sexual license. The soft, caring Lebron is joined by the very sensitive Matthew Broderick (married to the star of the seminal feminist Sex and the City), the lesbian Chris Evert and — to provide the play-by-play — by the erstwhile cross-dresser Marv Albert. Amy’s intervention is an arranged scene with her step-nephew, who educes her affection for her lost Aaron.
    Amy wins Aaron back by performing a number with the Knicks’ cheerleaders. She proves her new discipline and her desire to make their relationship work by performing the athletic ritual she initially disdained. She now accepts sports on Aaron’s terms, as an agent of community. She also performs the persona of female sexuality, the antithesis to her Snuff work. The muscular hunk climaxed when he admitted that from behind she looked “like a dude.” That went with her male life-choice of promiscuity and flight from emotion. To recover her relationship with Aaron she embraces the female role as cheerleader and her new pool of emotions and commitment. Once an emotional trainwreck, she goes on track and pulls into a station.

  • ((Ratings: ☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is recommended.

    In brief: In this romantic comedy, the rom works very well, even if the com doesn’t always deliver.

    GRADE: B

    Amy Schumer is one of the hottest comedians in show business right now and her movie Trainwreck, directed by proven winner Judd Apatow, should make her an even bigger household name.

    Written and starring Ms. Schumer, Trainwreck is a raunchy rom-com that has its share of laughs but, more importantly, has a wonderful chemistry between her and her co-star, the talented Bill Hader of SNL fame, that is the film’s main strength.

    The comedienne plays an apt named character, Amy, who is a cynical boozy floozy more interested in one night stands that a committed relationship. She is a “trainwreck”, totally hedonistic and self-absorbed and living life in the fast lane. That is until see meets Aaron, a doctor, a romantic, and all-around nice guy. Let’s call him Mr. Right. It is their relationship and the changes that happen to her because of him that are the crux of the film. This is, after all, a romantic comedy. Both actors are in top form, especially Mr. Hader who is charming and quite believable in his role.

    Apatow has assembled a fine cast of actors including Colin Quinn as Amy’s monogamy phobic father, an unrecognizable (and hysterical) Tilda Swinton as her cold-hearted British boss, Vanessa Bayer as Amy’s best friend, Brie Larson as her loving sister and Mike Birniglia as her doting husband. Cameos playing against type by professional wrestler John Cena (very funny), Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei and especially basketball star LeBron James as LeBron James, Aaron’s best buddy, add to the fun.

    The screenplay is well written by Ms. Schumer. The jokes are action and character driven and their delivery is perfectly timed for maximum effect. Sometimes the depreciating and sarcastic humor is laid on a bit thickly, but the shock stock of one-liners and the political incorrectness seems par for the course nowadays. While some gags are laugh out loud, others barely cause a titter. But the romantic elements of Trainwreck work effortlessly, leading to a memorable. if predictable, climax.

    Apatow directs his film with a nice comic touch and he rightly focuses on these mismatched lovers’ dilemmas. He also pays homage to Woody Allen’s far superior Manhattan in many scenes, a film he himself probably admires. While this film never comes close to that film classic, Trainwreck is immensely entertaining and retains its own type of class, crass as it may be, to warrant a visit.

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  • As far as the genre of romantic/comedy films go, Trainwreck, isn’t breaking much, if any, new ground. The plot is conventional with the meet cute, the falling in love, the break up, and the predictable ending. It’s a little less conventional that the female lead is a lush and sleeps around while the man is the straight laced one but, considering the screenwriter, even that is pretty conventional. What makes this movie entertaining is the sum of its parts.
    Amy Schumer’s screenplay is funnier in delivery than in actuality. She writes very well for herself and, in order to do that, she has to write well for everyone else. She realizes that just one outstanding character isn’t enough if the characters are going to play off of each other and be believable. Director Judd Apatow long ago showed he knows what to do with a funny movie and he does it again here. He keeps the characters believable while allowing the actors to push those characters to the edge. I don’t know how these two worked together but they produced a funny movie.
    Schumer plays Amy, a woman who is disconnected from reality as a way to protect herself. Schumer plays Amy as she has written Amy, kind of sweet, sort of embarrassing, more interested in getting a drink than doing her job well, and disconnected from any man before she even has a chance to connect. Schumer does it well. Bill Hader is the other end of the rom/com formula, playing Aaron a doctor to star athletes. Aaron is all the things Amy is not. He is organized, structured, thoughtful, and concerned. Both these characters are played believably and, by the structure of a rom/com, are destined for each other. Where it all works best is the characters blend perfectly without giving up their individuality but suffering for the blending even as they enjoy being with each other. Without this believability from these two actors the movie would just become an indulgence being paid for by other’s performances.
    The best acting in the movie, however, goes to Tilda Swinton who plays Amy’s boss, Dianna. Her’s is a characterization that is perfect for the movie but would work almost anywhere this character might be dropped. The best part is, I bought this character so completely that I didn’t realize it was Swinton until the credits. Nothing of her other characters was on the screen and yet Dianna is a fully fleshed out human.
    One of the elements that makes this movie fun is the supporting actors, at least one of whom I didn’t expect. John Cena plays Steven, a sort of boyfriend to Amy, if at that point she could have fidelity with anyone. Steven’s intellect outshines his muscles very nicely in a performance that shows there’s more to this performer than you might think. Ezra Miller plays Donald. He’s still playing younger than his age but he handles the part well. Colin Quinn plays Amy’s father Gordon as an irascible old man who really does have a heart of gold. Another comic, Dave Attell, plays Noam, a street person who is literally just in passing but still very funny. Brie Larson plays Kim, Amy’s down to earth sister who has committed to a marriage and family. Kim’s frustration is great but her love of Amy is greater.
    Then there are the cameo parts. Look for Randall Park, LeBron James, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, Tim Meadows, Amar’e Stoudemire, Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert, Clifford Smith (Method Man). I have to say something about Norman Lloyd who at 100 and in a wheel chair actually gave a nuanced performance. He has been acting with the greats of American theater for over eighty years and now this cast can brag about being in one of his films.
    I give this movie 3.5 operations out of 4. I was never worried about the end because it followed the formula but much of the humor was silly things hung on the story and not advancing the plot but I still had fun with it.

  • How do you solve a problem like Amy? Perhaps there isn’t a problem to begin with as our unapologetic heroine suggests. “Don’t judge me,” she declares. “I am a sexual girl. I am in control. This is clearly not my first rodeo.” Though not quite the absolute trainwreck of the title, Amy drinks, she parties, she makes out whenever and with whomever she pleases, she’s happily ensconced in her somewhat stunted ways. In short, Amy behaves like most of the guys that front the majority of romantic comedies, not to mention director Judd Apatow’s raunch-to-rehabilitation jokefests.

    Amy is not one to let any of her one-night stands sleep over, though she breaks that rule when she wakes up to find herself having to make the walk of shame from Staten Island back to New York. To be fair, her shame results from setting foot on Staten Island rather than facing the morning commuters whilst wearing a gold mini and sky-high stilettos. She has a guy she’s sort of seeing, a dim-witted slab of sculptured man meat named Stephen (John Cena). He clearly needs more training in the dirty talk department, what with “Let me fill you with my protein” and “There’s no ‘I’ in team” the best he has to offer. Yet, much to Amy’s mortification, Stephen is genuinely sweet on her and is hurt to discover that their relationship has not been exclusive. The ever-thoughtful Amy suggests postponing their talk as she’s too high to deal with his feelings.

    “Monogamy is unrealistic” was the lesson imparted upon Amy and her sister Kim (the charming Brie Larson) by their alcoholic and adulterous dad (Colin Quinn). While Kim has become a happily married suburbanite with a child on the way, Amy has very much taken her father’s words to heart. The sisters love each other, but Amy cannot comprehend Kim’s lifestyle nor can she fully understand Kim’s reluctant attitude to care for their father, now stricken with multiple sclerosis and living in an assisted care facility. For better or worse, Amy is her father’s daughter and her father has set the template for the men she lets revolve in and out of her life.

    Which is why she is truly taken aback when confronted with Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), an up-and-coming surgeon to elite athletes that she’s been tasked to profile by her fearsome editor Dianna (Tilda Swinton). Swinton, sporting a Farrah flip and enough make-up to bronze the whole of England, is a frightening whirlwind of hilarity, storming in and leaving everyone reeling from her verbal castrations. On a side note, can someone please find a way to pit Swinton’s Dianna against Meryl Streep’s equally formidable Miranda Priestley from The Devil Wears Prada? That’s a film that needs making stat.

    By contrast, Hader plays it on the quiet side. As he proved in his exemplary turn in the terrific The Skeleton Twins (see it if you haven’t already), Hader is an actor of surprising dramatic depth. He has many a comic moment here, but he delivers some beautiful, almost subtle, moments such as his reaction at hearing Amy direct the cab driver to take them to his address and his address only. The two had been getting to know one another over dinner and drinks, and you can see the transition from tipsiness to slightly panicked sobriety on Hader’s face when he realises what Amy has in store. There’s a lovely gaze he shines upon her when she’s flustered upon being asked to essentially start a relationship. And when he voices his concerns about her drinking and the number of men she’s slept with, Hader makes it perfectly clear that he is not condemning her but merely being honest and wanting to talk it out. Hader’s could have been a thankless role, but he does the near impossible: he makes decency sexy and appealing.

    What’s refreshing about Schumer’s deeply personal script is the lack of false drama. The conflicts feel natural and uncontrived. Schumer’s star has been on a rapid rise on the strength of her edgy and often subversive television show Inside Amy Schumer, and Trainwreck is an exceedingly strong showcase for what is essentially her first starring role. Fans may argue that Trainwreck elides daring for conventionality, that perhaps Schumer may have been Apatow-ed. Perhaps the film doesn’t quite hold its nerve (though there’s nothing wrong with trying to be a better person just as there’s nothing wrong with being a complete mess), but there’s no doubting Schumer’s comedic voice and no denying that Amy is the one in control all the way, regardless of how one views her decisions.

    All seriousness aside, Trainwreck is a deeply and consistently funny film. Even in its most dramatic moments, there’s a one-liner or ten waiting in the wings. There’s fantastic comedic support from the likes of Vanessa Bayer, Jon Glaser, Mike Birbiglia, Randall Park, and Dave Attell, as well as a surprisingly effective turn from basketball superstar LeBron James as a Cleveland-promoting, penny-pinching version of himself. Look out for the romantic montage, where Schumer verbally vomits on her character’s lovey-dovey relationship with Aaron (“I hope this love montage ends like Jonestown.”) and pays raucous homage to Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

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  • Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s (Amy Schumer) head by her dad that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo – enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from boring romantic commitment – but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

    There’s no question that Judd Apatow is one of the best comedic minds in Hollywood but his last two films were received by many as disappointments that didn’t bring the raunch, humor and heart that Apatow is best known for. Apatow’s latest film, Trainwreck sees Apatow collaborating with Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer) who has both written the script and stars in the movie as well.

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  • Quickie Review:

    Amy (Amy Schumer) in her adulthood has become commitment-phobic strongly influenced by her abandoning father. When she reluctantly takes on a project to interview Aaron (Bill Hader), Amy starts to have strong feelings for him. However, her years of commitment issues might just be too much for their relationship to handle. There is a lot to like about Trainwreck in terms of the comedy and talented cast. At the same time there is a lot to hate, most important of which is the clichéd romantic-comedy story. While the movie starts off strong with some gut-busting laughter, and the promise for something fresh, the predictable story makes an already dragged out film feel like a chore to watch.

    Full Review:

    Judd Apatow directed one of my favourite comedies that I was probably too young to have seen when it came out, The 40 Year Old Virgin. With other prominent comedians in the cast of Trainwreck I was curious to see how his latest project turned out. His directorial stamp is still apparent, but it takes huge nose-dive in the latter half of the movie.

    Full disclosure, I am not a fan of Amy Schumer as a comedian. I think that she relies too much on immature crass shock factor to get the laughs. But even with that opinion, I found that Schumer was actually quite funny in the film. Which surprised me since she wrote the script. Even though it does get a little raunchy at times the jokes really hit their mark especially in the first half of the movie. Bill Hader was great addition to the movie. The relationship between Amy and Hader’s character felt realistic, with few extremes for the dramatic tension of course. On top of that the cameos from different athletes and comedians worked really well. It’s obvious they are not the greatest actors, but they were used sparingly and wisely. So there were definitely some unexpected laughs from people you don’t see in comedies.

    Then it all changes in the second half. At one point there is total 180 degree flip in the tone, from a comedy to a drama (at times melodrama). It’s such a drastic change that it almost feels like you are watching a different movie than the one advertised. Aside from that, the combination of sinfully long runtime and clichéd storyline didn’t help either. Think of any, literally any romantic comedy movie and voilà you know all the plot points this film will cover. By almost completely abandoning the comedic tone, it was difficult to bear the mediocre drama.

    Trainwreck, much like the lead character is not a complete package. You enjoy the ride, the jokes and so on, but as the movie goes on, you start to wonder if you are wasting your time. If you are going to watch this, you have to be fully aware to expect two different movies in one.

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  • Let me start off by saying that I am not a fan of romantic-comedies. My favorite rom-com of 2014 by far was They Came Together. It stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler and it is basically a parody on the rom-com genre itself. Like I said, I am not the biggest fan of romantic-comedies. But, there is always a but, there is one director that has a perfect track record in my books when it come to his, Judd Apatow, rom-coms. Apatow is the director behind 40 Years Old Virgin and Knocked Up and those are perfect examples of raunchy, impudent and often vulgar films but yet hilarious. Apatow teams up with Amy Schumer for Trainwreck and the two have created by far my favorite rom-com of 2015.

    Since she was a little girl, it’s been drilled into Amy’s (Schumer) head by her rascal of a dad (Colin Quinn) that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a magazine writer, Amy lives by that credo-enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment-but in actuality, she’s kind of in a rut. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

    If we was to revamp When Harry Met Sally and make “Sally” a man that has commitment issues and never spends the night over someone’s house and “Harry” the woman who is insecure and isn’t afraid to admit they are looking for love, then you get Amy Schumer’s Amy and Bill Hader’s Aaron of Trainwreck. Schumer’s screenplay takes characteristics usually associated with one gender and assigns them to the opposite.

    From supporting cast to our two main stars, everybody that contributed to this film did nothing but make this film funnier. It all starts off with Schumer is filled with self-confidence while still being critical of herself. Beaming with charisma, Schumer is just as funny on the big screen as she is on the small one. Bill Hader continues to grow as an actor and is by far the best counterpart for Schumer.

    Athletes Lebron James and John Cena are surprisingly hilarious. Lebron plays an over-exagarrated version of himself and the result is an over-emotional, penny-pincher and egotistical Lebron and Cena plays a sensitive guy who needs to be coached on how to talk dirty while having sex. Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei make an appearance as actors within in a film in the film which makes perfect for the movie date night that takes place. I have never had an intervention but if I do end up having one then I want Marv Albert doing the play-by-play.

    Apatow fleshes out Amy and Aaron and that really helps us get involved in their story. They become relatable and you have to respect Schumer for avoiding making them into paper characters. Perhaps a change of title is in order because Trainwreck is nowhere near what the title implies.

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