Trainwreck (Judd Apatow, 2015)

Although frequently engaging throughout a familiar evolution of character, Trainwreck is both peak Apatow and an exemplification of the director’s longstanding bad habits in the realm of focal idiosyncrasy. Amy Schumer both penned and portrays the titular fictionalized version of herself: a hard-drinking promiscuous staff writer for a men’s magazine that’s been preconditioned by her father (Colin Quinn) to avoid monogamy. When her latest assignment pairs her with renowned sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), said subject’s genuine sense of self tickles Amy in such a way that prompts her to embark on a long-term relationship with him. Only time will tell if this change of scenery is too good to be true however, as Amy’s checkered past will or won’t come back to haunt her amid added familial stress and the like.

From Trainwreck‘s admittedly excellent opening sequence on, it becomes abundantly clear that its script’s success is contingent upon a sustained level of engagement. Discernibly lacking in depth given the lifestyle embraced and (maybe) soon-to-be-shed by its protagonist, Trainwreck indeed thrives thanks to unrivaled comedic chops and Schumer’s inherent likability as an honest comedian. Time and again throughout the film’s opening third, said honesty isn’t afraid to spotlight Amy’s arrested developmental tendencies in a manner indicative of the film’s title. She’s not the greatest person and she knows it, yet the comedy coinciding with this self-referential flair remains Trainwreck‘s most effective throughout its duration.

Unfortunately, the proceedings suffer from Apatow’s meandering sensibilities that corral narrative fat because more comedy is more comedy, right? Throughout his past three directorial outings, Apatow’s long-winded tendencies have detracted from what have otherwise been serviceable serio-comic dissections of real life issues. This is 40‘s hotel scene comes to mind, during which Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann indulge in pot brownies and aimlessly riff off each other for what seems like an eternity. While it’s all in good fun, it’s this aimlessness that has undeniably detracted from the films’ appeal and even derailed them entirely. Trainwreck suffers from the same fate in a comparably cameo-laden manner that panders to audience reaction over genuine conflict resolution, and it’s a shame, because what a bulk of the film puts forth is agreeably involving despite a noticeably basic character arc.

It’s easy to appreciate most of what Trainwreck showcases as Schumer’s charisma, her corresponding chemistry with faux beau Hader and the like and laughs abound triumph over familiarity. Even still, Apatow can’t quite stay the course in the pursuit of something steadfastly R-rated and insightful amid serio-comic beats that help transcend the likes of the typically dick joke-heavy. All told, Trainwreck is still far from unberable thanks to Schumer and her gusto as the type of the comedian she’s thrived as.


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