SXSW 2015: “Trainwreck” – Review by MovieManMenzel

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - July 16, 2014

Not quite the trainwreck that the trailers lead you to believe.

Directed by Judd Apatow and written by Amy Schumer, Trainwreck tells the story of a thirty something writer named Amy (played by Schumer), whose parents divorce has caused her to question the concept of monogamy. All throughout her life, Amy has slept around with numerous men while never admitting to having a deep fear of commitment. One day, Amy gets assigned to interview Dr. Aaron Connors (Bill Hader) and sparks instantly begin to fly. This interaction causes Amy to question her attitude towards relationships and whether or not she can actually commit to someone who truly loves and cares about her.

I want to be 100% straightforward with everyone reading this before I begin my review. I don’t find Amy Schumer’s brand of humor neither funny nor amusing. Schumer’s shtick is built on talking about her sex life while being “edgy.” The first 45 to 60 minutes of Trainwreck is Amy doing just that. The film shows her sleeping around with various men while making nonstop sex jokes. If you are a fan of Schumer’s standup routine than I would almost bet that you will love the first half of this film. I however, did not.

Some will argue that the first half had to happen the way it did in order for the second half to be as successful as it was. While I do agree with that to some degree, the first hour could have easily been edited down to 30 minutes. After seeing This is 40, a lot of people have admitted that Apatow tends to make his films about 20 to 40 minutes longer than they need to be. I completely agree with that because I constantly feel like he is just telling the same story or making the same jokes over and over again. In this film, I get that Amy loves the cock and doesn’t want commitment. I just didn’t need a 60 minute Amy Schumer standup special featuring John Cena as an opening act before getting into the heart and soul of the story

With that being said, the second half of Trainwreck is surprisingly wonderfulThe story is really strong and its loaded with emotion, heart, and laughs. There are several great moments in the second half including Amy having a disagreement with her sister Kim (Brie Larson), a death in the family, and Amy questioning her life choices. It is in the film’s second half where Schumer stops doing her standup routine and instead begins to act and surprisingly well I might add. 

jUDD APATOW Trainwreck

As always, Bill Hader is awesome and adds a lot of substance to the story even during the film’s painful first half. Hader is just so incredibly likable as Aaron and truth be told, the chemistry between him and Schumer was realistic and sincere. The surgery scene featuring Aaron singing Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl was priceless. Brie Larson and Colin Quinn are also great in the film as Amy’s sister and Dad. Their characters added so much depth and perspective to the story and they all worked well together. I was leery about the casting at first but after seeing the film, I can safely say it really worked out nicely. 

Apatow and Schumer got basketball star LeBron James to co-star as Aaron’s patient and friend. While I don’t think James was bad in the film, it just felt unnecessary for him to even be in the film especially for how much screen time he was given. I thought the story overused his character so much that it came off like Apatow just shoehorned him into scenes to remind the audience that they got LeBron James to be a part of the film. In addition to the cast that you know about from the trailers, there are some great cameos to keep an eye out for. I don’t think they are particularly funny but instead clever as to how they are incorporated into the story.

If I had to compare Trainwreck to another Apatow film, I would say it is most like the 40 Year Virgin. Simply take out the virgin plot point and replace it with someone who sleeps around and you have a large percentage of what Trainwreck is. Both films have a similar storyline and contain some great emotional moments from the characters. They both even feature an awesome dance number near the end. I will say that the cheerleader dance scene in Trainwreck is hands down the funniest moment in the entire film.

All in all, I went into Trainwreck excepting it to be a train wreck and was completely shocked when it turned out to be surprisingly decent. While the second half is great, the first half is drawn out and painfully unfunny. I think Schumer has a lot of potential and one can only hope that in her next film, she stops doing the standup routine and focuses more on actually acting. Despite my issues with the film, I think this is Apatow’s best film since The 40 Year Old Virgin. The casting is pretty spot-on and once you get through the first 60 minutes there is a lot of emotion, heart, and a good amount of laughs. I recommend this film to Apatow and Schumer fans alike but also to those looking for a R-rated romantic comedy with some heart.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Trainwreck is a 6 out of 10.

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