Stoner-comedy king Judd Apatow and comedian/writer Amy Schumer uncomfortably join forces to bring us Trainwreck. Unconventional, unpredictable and unapologetic, Trainwreck takes the rom-com formula, a blunt, crass feminist lead and a few of Apatow’s typical conventions and mixes them all up in a cocktail shaker. The result: a mildly-amusing, badly-blended, sharp-tasting sex-comedy which reeks of alcohol and all things outrageous. Schumer’s care free, sexually liberated lead reflects her stand-up comedy persona. New York is the playground for this magazine journalist whose life revolves around a job she loves, her ferocious sexuality and her tetchy relationship with her family. Trainwreck demonstrates that single women don’t have to be defined by their promiscuity. Amy loves sex and she loves to have sex with multiple partners but when Amy finds herself in the company of a Mr. Nice Guy, played by Bill Hader, she is forced to contemplate that she might just be heading into a real relationship but her colourful sexual history and her unawareness of how to function in the role of ‘girlfriend’ threaten to damage things; at least that’s what the film’s trailer presented us with. I reject the notion that just because someone hasn’t been interested in monogamy previously, that they are too stupid or scared to function within a relationship. Thankfully Trainwreck manages to balance genre conventions with unpredictable plot development to produce something far too long but with surprising outcomes and unexpected turns. Luckily, for once, polygamy doesn’t equal “ice cold bitch”.
Amy works for a male magazine whose articles include “Call Those Tits?” and “Ugliest Celebrity Children Under 10”. Of course, Amy isn’t achieving her journalistic dreams but instead is lazily content with producing judgemental garbage for idiots stupid enough to pay for it. Amy’s sister is a mother and wife. The siblings struggle to understand each other’s lifestyles and yet understand each other deeply and subtly. This relationship represents some of the rare, complex character work found in Trainwreck which is too often lost beneath the film’s disjointed humour and grating secondary characters. Tilda Swinton, unrecognisable as Amy’s botoxed magazine editor boss, is visually amusing for a matter of minutes but her cringeworthy cockney character quickly begins to grate. Hader and Swinton are both wasted in what feels more like an egotistical character exploration for Schumer. Hader never quite fits into his character and Swinton seems to have accidentally strolled off of the set of a This is Spinal Tap sequel, which would be funnier if she was American. At two hours, Trainwreck is noticeably too long. There are hilarious moments but 80% of the time the jokes crash and burn. I wanted to like Trainwreck a lot more but the clashing of comedy styles from Schumer and Apatow never resolve in this initially promising but ultimately deflating journey into modern romance and relationships.
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