Saturday, July 18, 2015

Movie Review #283: "Trainwreck" (2015)

Director: Judd Apatow
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes
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When Amy (Amy Schumer) was a child, her father Gordon (Colin Quinn) told her and her younger sister Kim (Brie Larson) that monogamy isn't realistic. Though he said this as a way to excuse his infidelity, these words seemed to stick with Amy. Now, as an adult, Amy leads a very promiscuous lifestyle. Her relationships are usually little more than a series of one night stands and though she does see one guy regularly (John Cena), she doesn't have any feelings for him. She has never had real feelings for anybody and doesn't think she ever will...that is, until she meets Aaron (Bill Hader), who is a sports doctor that Amy has been assigned to write a story about for her job at a men's magazine.

In many ways, "Trainwreck" is a standard romantic comedy, and in many ways, it's not. In the same vein as films like "Wedding Crashers" or like last year's "That Awkward Moment," the main protagonist is a hardcore partier who drinks and has a regular stream of different sexual partners. In this sense, "Trainwreck" is very similar, though usually in these types of movies, the protagonist is a man. That's where this movie differs as Amy Schmuer is the film's star, as well as its writer. It may not seem like a big change, but examine the current social stigmas surrounding such issues, if you will. There is an unfortunate general consensus and acceptance that a man can sleep around with multiple women and be considered a 'player,' but if a woman does this, she is deemed a 'slut.' "Trainwreck" even goes into the realm of challenging these social norms and mores, which is something we can appreciate as people who want equal rights for all. But simply switching gender roles and challenging social norms isn't enough to make a good movie. Is the comedy on point? Does it make us laugh?

Amy Schumer has never really been on our radar, but she is quite popular in the current comedy scene. She is basically playing a movie version of herself, and she does so in such a funny manner, giving off the vibe that you'd want to get a beer with her in real life because she seems so fun. Though the initial trailer wasn't anything to write home about, we are pleased to say the answer to the above questions is yes, and this film is straight up hilarious. For any successful movie, and crucial in a comedy, is the need for a good, strong cast that you believe, and characters to back up good writing and performances. Luckily, this movie has a wonderful mix of both serious and funny moments brought to life by an excellent cast of completely convincing relationships.

Amy Schumer does a sterling job in her debut starring role in this feature length film. She brings her signature brash, sarcastic brand of comedy that she is so known for to the big screen with tons of jokes that land exactly where they need to bring the audience to tears with laughter. Not everyone will love her kind of humor since it is quite risque, and in this respect, this film is definitely not for the prude at heart. Bill Hader plays Amy's love interest Aaron and puts on a good performance in that part. He has made a lot of strides in the last few years as an actor, showing he has the ability to deliver solid performances, even when his characters are multi-layered. We believe Amy and Aaron as a couple and they look like a pair that could be together in real life. They bicker like a real couple, they joke like a real couple, and they love like a real couple would. Beyond these two principle actors, there are also a host of other performances by the likes of Colin Quinn, who plays Amy's bitter, angry, sort of racist asshole father, who is in an assisted living facility and doesn't have the best track record with his girls. Tilda Swinton plays Amy's blunt and rude boss Dianna, who only cares about her job and getting it done right the first time. LeBron James, the last person you'd expect to fill an acting role, manages to not simply feel like a stiff basketball player passing off his lines. His smaller part garners quite a few chuckles as well. As we have mentioned, there are laughs-o-plenty from start to finish, but it subscribes to Judd Apatow's signature body part, drug taking, over-partying brand of humor. The movie might feel a tiny bit long, but most of it moves well and is acted in such a manner that it makes it feel like real life. I, for one, was pleasantly surprised by how much I snickered during this movie, and how much I liked it overall. Though BigJ liked it a bit less than I did, he still enjoyed it nonetheless.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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