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  Trainwreck Bad Company
Year: 2015
Director: Judd Apatow
Stars: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Jon Glaser, Randall Park, Ezra Miller, Mike Birbiglia, Method Man, Norman Lloyd, Dave Attell, Daniel Radcliffe, Marisa Tomei, Matthew Broderick
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) is a magazine journalist at a publication called S'Nuff, and it’s a high powered job that requires a lot of attitude to appeal to its readership, so is she up to that? She can talk the talk, or write the article at least, but her personal life is lacking a certain joie de vivre when the time she spends away from her desk is spent drinking and sleeping around. Her father (Colin Quinn), when he left her mother, made the point that people just are not meant to stay together, and Amy took that to heart given her relationships begin and end in one night more often than not. She is going out with a bodybuilder called Steven (John Cena), but one thing she doesn’t want to do is settle down like her sister Kim (Brie Larson)...

Amy Schumer was one of those talents who all of a sudden was everywhere, publicised across the world when her television series and film arrived on the scene at the same time. This over-familiarity with someone not many had been aware of before bred a degree of contempt in those resistant to her charms, but the truth was she was witty and funny, her earthy humour seasoned with a welcome degree of self-deprecation. So why was it Trainwreck, her collaboration with comedy super-producer Judd Apatow, was such a bore? The frustrating thing was that there was a fizzy little ninety minute movie in here somewhere, yet for the most part it was lost in over two hours of bloat.

On the surface, it didn’t seem as if Schumer was doing anything wrong, the persona crafted for her here apparently well-suited to her style, but the early warning signs were most probably lying with her director Apatow. He favoured improvisation, which meant the lines she had written in her own script were trampled on by his insistence that his cast should ignore them and basically make shit up, which not everyone can do successfully no matter how much encouragement and support they were receiving. Even a one-hundred-year-old Norman Lloyd was coaxed into inventing random jokes which you had to admire him for giving it a game try, but the fact remained most of this sounded too loose and baggy, particularly when the cast resorted to tired smut in lieu of anything imaginative.

A lot more snap would have offset Schumer’s antics, though even then her supposed "trainwreck" qualities were soothed by the love of a good man, leaving us with a character better off in an eighties sitcom where she would go on a journey and learn something by the end of the story, though if it had been an episode like that it would have thankfully been over in twenty-five minutes rather than subjecting us to a dispiritingly predictable romance. Again, the comedienne was a likeable presence, as was Bill Hader as Aaron, the sports doctor who wins Amy's heart, but ten minutes would go by and you would realise you hadn’t been laughing, and what laughing you had done was a mild chuckle.

Apatow littered the film with famous faces, though some more recognisable to American audiences than international ones, and left us with Matthew Broderick and Chris Evert sharing the silver screen for the first time, not that it was funny, it was more stuff shovelled in to bulk out an already patience-testing experience. After the first hour this had become like getting into a conversation with someone who won’t stop going on about themselves and their terrible relationships, only you couldn't get a word in edgeways to protest you really were not interested in hearing about this person in such deadening detail. Plus the manner that Amy's bad decisions resolved themselves told us rather conservatively and sentimentally that all she needed was a boring, safe man to be the rock in her life, as far away from her unintentionally damaging father as possible; when that drew up to a finale that should have been cute but even that went on for far too long, the phrase brevity is the soul of wit never was more appropriate. Music by Jon Brion.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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