Amy Schumer is about as hot as it gets right now, and teaming her with Judd Apatow, who at least presents as a comedy fan, ought to make for a surefire win, but Trainwreck is so unsure of itself (perhaps purposely going meta) that it becomes as awkward to be around as its main character.
Like all sketch comedies, Inside Amy Schumer is going to have you rolling with laughter, but also scratching your head, and I wonder if focusing on sketch writing wasn’t too near to this project. Moments of the film are very funny, but in the sense of the more cerebral work from her show, where you call it funny when it’s over, but don’t necessarily laugh it while you’re watching. Connecting these bites together is often rough work though, and there doesn’t seem to be a good handle on pacing the project, which means it just flows… however it happens to flow.
Schumer plays Amy, which is convenient, and she isn’t so much a trainwreck as just someone who has taken the emotional baggage of their parents’ divorce and really run with it. Her father (Colin Quinn) inappropriately tried to turn his daughters away from monogamy at a very young age, and Amy grabbed on with both hands. She sleeps with a lot of guys, is only available for the fun of life, partying her way from one day to the next, and occasionally taking the Staten Island Ferry of shame home in the morning.
On the other hand, she’s kind of dating Steven (John Cena), which means that she has seen him more than once, and goes on dates with him sometimes. She doesn’t really let it spill into the rest of her life though.
Amy also works at a magazine for men, where she is given the assignment of writing a piece on a sports surgeon, Aaron (Bill Hader). Aaron, is the nicest guy you ever want to meet, which is bad news for a trainwreck like Amy.
In order to keep a lot of balls in the air, Amy struggles with her job, where she works under a slightly psychotic editor, Dianna (Tilda Swinton), and Amy’s father is now in an assisted living facility, and she and her sister frequently debate their love/hate relationship with him.
It’s a refreshing look at the rom-com genre, because it actually tries to deal with the fact that everyone is a bit nuts, as opposed to just throwing characters at certain pigeon holes. Amy isn’t just “the commitment-phobe.” She’s a more complex entity with aspects of her personality that lead her there, just like real people. Actually, she’s something closer to living in commitment denial, but her reactions to people and situations are realistically built around the character, not just “what would the commitment-phobe do?” Good or bad, funny or not, that’s interesting to watch, especially within this genre that is normally a wasteland when it comes to lifelike characters.
It’s also an interesting twist when a comedy writer stars in their own film, but leaves much of their own contribution as reaction. The trailer, and specifically a scene in which Hader’s character calls Amy “the day after,” may sell this as something of a fast-paced, fest of zingers, but it is actually anything but, and someone else usually has the good lines, just like the, “I’m calling the cops,” line in that one. Amy delivers most of the fun and funny by being the person who double-takes, or pops her eyes wide. She’s great at it, and makes you think, but it isn’t the norm of comedians throwing out a script.
This may convince someone that the film is worth watching, and it is, but it isn’t exactly anything you want on the poster. The best thing you can say about the film is that, like everything Schumer does, it bucks the norms where it can, and tries to spin the genre around on itself. Don’t get me wrong, it’s funny. It leans more toward the fun side as an overall experience, largely because it wants to throw out a lot more emotion, but you will laugh. It won’t have you walking out of the theater with sore sides though.
The pacing, lackadaisical direction, and almost stream of consciousness hints keep this one from becoming the truly great film that you can vaguely see as being in there somewhere, but Amy is almost always worth your time, and Trainwreck is too. She makes the experience difficult to describe though. When it’s over, you won’t rush to tell your friends, or cackle for hours replaying it in your mind… you might never even feel the need to watch it again, but you will like that you have seen it. That’s a lot better than most.
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CastAmy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Dave Attell with Tilda Swinton and LeBron James
SynopsisSince 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.