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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Movie Review - Trainwreck

Trainwreck (2015)
Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Dave Attell, and LeBron James
Directed by Judd Apatow

I don't know anything except some peripheral info about Amy Schumer.  I've never seen her Comedy Central show or watched one of her stand-up routines.  I know she's somewhat abrasive and very sexually forward in her comedy, but beyond that, I simply didn't really care to get to know her because (a) I can't tell you the last time I've turned on Comedy Central, (b) I've never really been a stand-up comedy kind of guy, and (c) I didn't think I'd enjoy her sarcastically self-deprecating raw humor.  Trainwreck just may very well have made me a fan.

Written and conceived by Schumer herself and taking on some autobiographical aspects, Trainwreck tells the story of Amy (played by Schumer, naturally), a writer for an edgy men's magazine, who much to her surprise trades in her sexually adventurous, partying lifestyle for a more traditional relationship with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) after being sent to interview him by her boss (Tilda Swinton).  This newfound happiness doesn't sit well with Amy who's given her sister Kim (Brie Larson) a hard time for settling down with her husband (Mike Birbiglia) and his son.  Trying to find a balance between her fun recklessness and her toned down persona sends Amy into a bit of a whirlwind as she tries to discover the woman she's most comfortable being.

Schumer may not be the best actress -- there are moments where you feel she's less acting than doing stand-up -- but there are certainly times where you see layers peaking out wherein a little more experience could shape her into a more solid actress.  Schumer is surrounded by a great cast led by Bill Hader who is both the straight man to Schumer's craziness, but also gets a chance to show off his comedic chops as well.  We also get Tilda Swinton as Amy's snooty (and very funny) editor and the lovely Brie Larson as Amy's "normal" sister.  Surrounding Schumer with such a talented cast elevates her rather than making her "stand out" in a negative way.

Those who have frequented this blog know that I think Judd Apatow is one of the most overrated directors and screenwriters around, but I must give him kudos here for helping to shape Schumer's debut screenplay into something that plays both charming and disarming onscreen.  Although Apatow tries to imbue heart into his films, I find them often empty and emotionless -- that isn't the case here as Schumer herself creates a surprisingly balanced film that feels both modern in terms of its raunchy humor and classic when it comes to romantic comedy tropes.  Apatow keeps things moving (which is a rarity in his films) and while there were still minor thoughts of "could they have trimmed this" that ran through my head, Trainwreck is an all around amusing venture.

The RyMickey Rating:  B+

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