Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck poster.jpgWreck-It Amy

Director: Judd Apatow
Running Time: 125 Minutes
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, John Cena, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James

At a young age, Amy was told that monogamy was an unrealistic concept by their father (a pitch-perfect Colin Quinn). Twenty-Three years later, Amy (Amy Schumer) is a magazine writer who regularly drinks, gets stoned and sleeps around, sharing her fathers views on monogamy. Her latest article focuses on Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a charming sports doctor who she begins to fall for.

For her debut as a feature film lead, Amy Schumer deftly handles the role. Her character is, frankly, a mess and ever close to becoming somebody unlikeable. It's thanks to Schumers performance that, despite her own personal demons, she remains somebody to root for. It helps that she shares great chemistry with her on-screen love interest, a charming as ever Bill Hader. These two remain cute together, and help make this a relationship we want to succeed.

The supporting cast are a fantastic assortment. Amy shares a close relationship with her sister Kim (Brie Larson, lovely as ever), managing to be touching, yet easily able to turn fraught. Tilda Swinton disappears into her role, threatening to steal any scene she's a part of, while Ezra Miller gives his all as the new intern. John Cena and LeBron James try their hand at acting, managing to adapt well and deliver great moments of comedic timing and genuine emotion.

The teaching of Jazz Hands was a delicate process...

But once again, Judd Apatow manages to be his own worst enemy. Too many plotlines are left in play, as we keep returning to Amy's homeless friend who hits on her, and a film within the film where Daniel Radcliffe stars. These are scenes which could have been easily cut without affecting the overall film, which contributes to the films bloated runtime. These are two common problems among his work, as seen in his other films (especially This is 40).

When it comes to balancing the moments of drama and humour, the cast do exceptional with both, while Schumer's script isn't as effective. Don't get me wrong, many of the scenes are remarkably touching and genuinely humorous (the critiquing voice-over set to the typical romance montage is a highpoint), but others are less than successful. The worst offenders are the drama scenes, which then attempts to end on a haphazardly delivered joke.

Yet Schumer permeates a sense of honesty throughout. When a mother proclaims she wouldn't know how to explain gay people to her child, Amy openly remarks that explaining they're just people is the best method. The typical gender stereotypes that get put on screen are defied at a welcome pace, even if the film can't escape the typical rom-com structure.

Trainwreck is a solid starring vehicle for the talented Amy Schumer, juggling comedy and drama with a (mostly) effective hit rate, while being refreshingly honest. Unfortunately, like many of Apatow's other projects, it's in need of a brutal edit.