Trainwreck (2015)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Trainwreck</strong> (2015)

(Video on Demand, November 2015) Much has been said about how Trainwreck is director Judd Apatow’s first film for which he did not write the screenplay; the prevailing hope being that writer/star Amy Schumer’s script would avoid a number of Apatow’s most problematic tics, in particular his tendency to meander and deliver bloated films with largely-unnecessary third acts.  Now that the film is here, though, critics have a good proof that all scripts are filtered through their director’s quirks, and so Trainwreck doesn’t exactly improve a whole lot on the indulgent ramblings, tangential subplots, improvised dialogues and low stakes so characteristics of other Apatow films.  Do note that his strengths also carry through: it’s a convincingly naturalistic exploration of modern relationships, with some good set-pieces, persona-stretching performances, frank discussions and down-to-earth situations.  Trainwreck should appeal, as labeled, to fans of Apatow’s previous films or Schumer’s increasingly familiar comic persona.  Plot-wise, there isn’t much to see here: It’s a fairly standard romantic comedy formula, used as a foundation on which to play character-driven comic moments.  As the philandering, weed-using, underachieving lead, Schumer navigates a tricky line as a somewhat unlikable protagonist who gets to grow a bit during the course of the film.  Far more likable are some personalities in bit-parts: John Cena is unexpectedly hilarious in a small but merciless role, while Lebron James (of all people) gets more than his share of laughs playing himself.  Still, much of the film is pretty much everything you’ve come to expect from the Apatow laugh factory: Those who aren’t fans (or worse; those who aren’t fans and are not in sports), may not find themselves as entertained by Trainwreck as those who are.

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