Perhaps surprising to the casual moviegoer, Judd Apatow hasn’t directed that many films. In fact, this is only his fifth. And the first of which he has no writing credit (that title goes to Amy Schumer). His last two films weren’t all that great (Funny People and This is 40). I’d thought maybe he had lost his touch. Or maybe he never had it. But I think he found something in directing someone else’s script for a change.
The premise may not sound all that original, because it’s not. But the accomplishments of Trainwreck lie solely in the film’s execution.
The movie follows a fictionalized version of Schumer, with a different last name, who spends her entire life believing that monogamy is an unrealistic expectation because, as a young girl, she was taught so by her father (Colin Quinn). She constantly criticizes her sister (Brie Larson), who’s chosen to take the opposite route, getting married and having kids.
But Amy meets a sports doctor, Aaron (Bill Hader), who she finds oddly appealing. It’s a pairing that doesn’t make much sense, but works and only adds to the quirkiness of the film. As much as the overall result is predictable, getting there is not. Cliches are, for the most part, thrown out the window.
Schumer’s humor is cohesive within the film. She tends to stay away from the nonsensical spitfire ramblings and sticks with jokes that actually have a place in the context of the story. The rest of the cast follows suit.
Apatow gets the absolute most out of his actors. From every facial expression to every line delivery. Though some scenes drag on for way too long–or shouldn’t exist at all. For as much as the film turns its back on the genre and does a lot of good for it, Trainwreck could use some tidying up.
It’s slightly off-putting when you hear that the runtime is over 2 hours. It doesn’t need to be. There’s a scene where Aaron is given an intervention by Lebron James and Matthew Broderick. It’s completely unnecessary and adds nothing to the story.
The real standout of the film is Quinn. He has MS, and is bitter and curmudgeonly. But behind his angry eyes, you see the pain from a life prior to his disease. He gives us enough to help us sympathize with who Amy has become.
Her metamorphosis is seamlessly gradual over the course of the film. When things improve for her it feels natural and organic, and you get an actual sense of permanency. She’s changed for good–not for the immediate gratification of a lover or because it sounds nice in the moment.
The jokes in Trainwreck seldom fall flat. It’s all part of Schumer’s uniform style. She knows what’s going to play well, while remaining unpredictable. And for a genre that’s older than film itself, we need to be surprised.