People have been talking about Trainwreck as a refreshing twist on the rom-com genre and that’s true, but it’s also a refreshing twist on another genre, one almost as tired as the rom-co, namely, the Apatovian man-child reaching maturity genre. The twist on both is really the same; the wild, promiscuous, profane character here is the woman, Amy Schumer, in a star-making turn & the good-hearted innocent is Bill Hader, as reliably excellent as always. Schumer & Hader have great chemistry and they’re totally believable as a couple (something that’s just really not true of movie couples a good ninety percent of the time). They’re ably supported by a solid cast, particularly Brie Larson who gives a genuinely great dramatic performance, taking a role that could have just been a forgettable straight man part and giving it reality and honesty (reliably, not just excellent, but jaw-droppingly phenomenal). The film is shaggy, a little long, but Apatow and Schumer are trying for a loose-limbed, ungainly comedy and when it works, it really works, as in a lengthy section in which Schumer dates a body-builder played, surprisingly, to absolute comic perfection by John Cena. Let’s just say that I have a new “funniest sex scene of all time” award winner. And when Schumer and Hader are together, they have real sparks, both comedic and dramatic. A funeral scene with Schumer giving the eulogy is incredibly effective. But a lot of stuff doesn’t work. LeBron James, such a charismatic and riveting figure to watch on the court, proves to be a block of wood on screen. And, for all the talk about rom-com clichés, no one seems to be mentioning the most cringe-inducingly clichéd part of the entire movie, Amy’s troubled relationship with her dad, played by a really awful Colin Quinn. Talk about bad. Then there’s that bizarre scene with Chris Evert and Marv Albert and (I kid you not) Matthew Broderick, all playing themselves. That’s a perfect example of what happens when Apatow’s loose-limbed style goes completely awry; it’s one of the worst scenes of the year so far and absolutely the worst comedy scene, painfully unfunny and unbearably long. So, the film has a lot of problems, but in the long run, more positives. Still, it could have easily been trimmed down by a good twenty minutes (that damned Matthew Broderick bs is at least TEN minutes) and a bit of rewritingon some stuff, like all the dad scenes, would have helped immensely. Still, it’s a film that I have to recommend as a real showcase for some downright brilliant performances and a lot of great laugh-out-loud moments. Just roll your eyes and sit through the bad stuff; it’s worth it. Mostly. And, oh, ****, that’s Claudia O’Doherty! 3 stars.
tl;dr – annoyingly inconsistent comedy still wins the day, thanks to a lot of funny scenes and great performances; the unfunny or clichéd stuff still bombs, but it’s worth it. 3 stars.