Movie Review - Trainwreck

If you've watched Emmy-nominee Amy Schumer on her Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer, then her style of comedy won't come as any surprise when watching this film, which was written by Schumer, and directed by Judd Apatow in an aesthetic not dissimilar than what was established in his hits like The 40-Year-Old Virgin or Knocked Up. Like those movies, this too is a sex comedy. Generally, it's about getting people in a room and finding a way to mine humor out of the act or finding the awkwardness of the act to make things uncomfortable, or else just talking about sex in bold, fresh ways.

Amy Schumer stars as Amy Townsend, a writer for a magazine. She lives in New York. She has a younger sister. Her mother has passed, and her father is in a nursing facility. She has an irreverent and cynical sensibility. She constantly mocks things in snide ways. She's smart but acts like a dumb blonde at times. She likes to get high, most likely on marijuana, and she likes having sex with guys, many, many, different guys.

The film opens with a scene from Amy's childhood where her father, played by Colin Quinn, teaches her that monogamy isn't realistic. He basically explains or tries to justify why he cheated on his wife. The movie fast-forwards 23 years and we see Amy embracing her dad's teaching and being very, very promiscuous. Her rule is that she doesn't sleep with guys, not overnight. She'll have sex with them and then leave, or if they're at her place, she'll kick them out.

She doesn't seem to be that interested in relationships. She is in one. WWE performer John Cena (12 Rounds and The Marine) plays Steven, her boyfriend who loves her and wants to marry her eventually, but this is not her thing. When Steven finds out about her continued promiscuity, she suggests having an open relationship, but he doesn't accept, so he breaks up with her.

Things change when she meets Aaron Conners, played by Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live). Aaron is a doctor who operates on athletes specifically. He also works closely with Doctors Without Borders. His best friend is NBA-star Lebron James, played by Lebron James. He doesn't seem particularly interested in Amy when he meets her. She is doing an article on him for her magazine, and she seems completely idiotic, unprepared and non-committed to do it.

Prompted by nothing, she accompanies him back to his apartment and has sex with him. He's not pushing or is any way expecting it. He merely goes along. After that, he just appears to be in love and wants a relationship with her despite her protestations. She goes along with it for no logical reason, except to conform to obvious romantic-comedy tropes.

She resists falling into a monogamous relationship with him but just does. The only explanation is she just inexplicably likes him. Ostensibly, she seems willing to do the same things with Aaron as she would with Steven, which is to say normal dating things, but why she would all of a sudden stop being promiscuous with Aaron is never given weight.

I guess the sex with him is really great, but even she admits that it's not the best. I guess he's probably the smartest person with whom she's been intimate, or maybe he's such a pendulum swing away from Steven that it's merely part of a pattern that her father points out. Either way, it's never convincing why she gives up her promiscuity. If anything, she seems guilted into doing it by her sister Kim, played by Brie Larson, and a little by her dad, which makes no sense, but maybe age has changed him.

If so, this movie follows suit to the Anna Faris vehicle What's Your Number? (2011). A woman is again meant to feel guilty about having a large amount of sexual partners. As most rom-coms, it has to end with the typical, two-people in a monogamous relationship. The possibility of not undercutting the premise and having a happy ending of an open relationship or polyamory is never truly in the cards. Promiscuity is never a positive thing to have in the end, or is something that can be normal.

There's plenty of funny scenes and funny moments. The problem is that those scenes or moments can go for too long. Things drag, time and time again. John Cena, Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton are perhaps given too much rope to hang themselves. Cena's full-body nudity though is great. Yet, the gay innuendo surrounding him and the one or two gay jokes in this film didn't work. In one scene, it's implied Amy converted a gay man into liking sex with women. It's not funny.

Lebron James is very much serving the same function as Jason Statham in Spy this year. The comedy written for him plays on who he really is or what he actually does. Yet, James is a humorous and likeable presence here. It did seem funny when Brie Larson laughs in this movie because it doesn't seem like she's acting. It seems like it's Schumer actually getting her to crack.

Four Stars out of Five.
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and some drug use.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 5 mins.


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