*mild spoilers – but this is a rom-com guys, and it’s nearly a year old*
Let me be up front with you guys – this is a movie that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. I could have seen it in the theaters. I could have done the whole VOD route. But no, I was pretty darn lazy and decided to go the “stalk the HBO website to see when it’ll be available” route. I know – you’re proud of me and my commitment to not leaving my home. 🙂
No really, it opened around my birthday last year and for whatever reason, I never got around to watching it. While I’ve never watched full episodes of Amy Schumer’s sketch show, I had seen individual pieces from it, had watched her standup special when it aired, was a fan of someone who was achieving in a male-dominated field, and also looks more like me than she looks like a wafer-thin movie star. So you could say I’m kind of a fan. But this movie made me hesitate after I saw it. Caveat – I was sick with a terrible cold when I watched it. I don’t think that actually impacts my review, but you never know.
Amy plays Amy, a thirty-something New Yorker who has learned to be jaded about love and relationships from her parents failed marriage, and who has decided that the only way to live life is to be fun and fancy free – dating one guy, banging other dudes on the side – to avoid any kind of commitment beyond work, and to make fun of her younger sister who has settled into life as a wife and stepmother. She is partying hard every night with no plans to stop.
…Until she meets Aaron, who is a sports medicine surgeon who works with big-name sports celebrities (the reason she was sent to interview him for her magazine job). He’s a good guy and she starts to think that maybe she should be with someone who likes her that she likes too…and maybe this whole being in love thing isn’t so bad. But then, like any good rom-com, Amy is put into an impossible position, where she has to decide between her job and her man, and neither of the parties tugging at either side are willing to give her any leeway, and so she ends up pulling away from both and things fall apart completely. (Don’t worry – she gets back together with the nice doctor by doing a sexy cheerleader dance for him, and finding a new place to publish her story about said doctor, which ends up being more about falling in love than about sports medicine).
And that’s about it. I loved LeBron James as the best friend of Dr. Aaron. He was surprisingly competent as an actor, and didn’t feel anywhere near as stiff as many athletes who take minor roles in movies (cough*anythingwithShaq*cough). The premise of the movie felt very fresh, and like a flip on the standard romantic comedy script, because here the woman is the one who can’t be tamed, and the guy is the stable lovey-dovey one wanting to settle down. Bill Hader and Amy Schumer were both very funny, and I was pleasantly surprised to see Brie Larson, in her released-immediately-prior-to-Room movie, which she must have done so as not to have too many harrowing experiences in a row.
But at the end, something felt off. The constant yukking between Amy and her best friend about not understanding the standard things that might happen in a normal relationship felt forced. The turnaround at the end in Amy’s feelings felt legitimate, but the way that Amy apologizes to Aaron – in the aforementioned sexy-dance routine with the Knicks City Dancers felt like it was only done a) to see Amy in short skirts b) for the tepid comedy of “Amy isn’t quite as good as the professionals around her!” and c) the gag where she tries to do a trampoline dunk. And that doesn’t feel strong enough for me as the cap to this otherwise enjoyable movie.
I don’t know – maybe I really should have seen it in the theater. Perhaps it was hyped too much as the coming of the next wave of romantic comedies. Maybe I’m picking too much. But at the end of the day, I don’t know how much I can get behind a movie that seems to say, “Get blackout drunk every night until you find the guy who wants to make you embarrass yourself in front of him for way of apology.” And while it’s a slightly more liberated message than many of the romantic comedies of yesteryear…I don’t know that it’s a message anyone needs. Final takeaway – this is an enjoyable movie, but it’s still problematic.
Has anyone else seen Trainwreck and felt similar qualms? Am I just projecting expectations for the older-style of Romantic Comedy onto a comedian who does a lot of drinking humor and potty humor? Am I expecting too much of the genre itself?
More Information: “Trainwreck”, written by Amy Schumer, directed by Judd Apatow. Available on DVD/Blu-Ray, HBO On Demand and VOD (iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, etc.).