Judd Apatow’s string of comedies to date have been characterised by his singular voice, and those of the improvisational cast of characters that he traditionally works with. Here he loosens the reigns a little as comedian Amy Schumer tackles her debut feature script, as well as the lead role in TRAINWRECK.
Although largely billed as a comedy, it sits in that odd space between drama and chuckles that Apatow’s Funny People did, albeit filtered through an equally familiar style the writer/actress has developed in the sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer. Focusing on journalist Amy (played by Schumer) and her chaotic romantic life, consciously avoiding emotional connection until she meets sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), leaves us with a film that is as disjointed and disconnected as her character’s experience. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for the audience to form bonds with either of the leads, and these little moments do not form a cohesive whole throughout the excessive running time.
The closest the film gets to a real piece of emotion, and perhaps the tone it was trying to evoke, is an argument between the would-be couple, one that Schumer’s character fails to understand due to her inexperience in relationships. Similarly, the relationship between Amy and her MS-suffering father Gordon (Colin Quinn) and sister Kim (Brie Larson) is not only funny, but genuinely touching at times. Basketball star LeBron James is a revelation, nailing the delivery of some terrific banter, while the chameleon Tilda Swinton once again disappears into the role of Amy’s editor. Yet for all the strides the film makes in Schumer’s positive views about sexuality, it still falls back on predictable rom-com formula, as a snap decision to change literally sees her perform in Aaron’s court in order to “win” him back.
2015 | US | Dir: Judd Apatow | Writers: Amy Schumer | Cast: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James | Distributor: Universal| Running time: 124 minutes | Rating:★★½ (5/10)