Rocky ride for Apatow’s latest
For all of his producing and writing contributions, Trainwreck marks only the fifth big screen directorial effort from Judd Apatow – and the first since 2012’s uneven This is 40.
After the relative easygoing comedic stylings of Knocked Up and The 40 Year-Old Virgin, Apatow’s last couple of flicks have taken a more serious tone, resulting in fewer laughs and less memorable, rewatchable, fare.
Trainwreck is more in keeping with his earlier efforts and sees the director showcase rising comedy star Amy Schumer, who also wrote the script.
The New Yorker makes her movie debut – unless you count her role as “Woman number 1” in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – as commitment-phobic career woman Amy, who is forced to re-evaluate her beliefs when she strikes up a budding relationship with Bill Hader’s sports doctor Aaron.
Roaring down the tracks with often hilarious results, Trainwreck’s first hour is a riot, favouring daring humour and crude jokes synonymous with Apatow.
The opening scene sees a young Amy and sister Kim’s dolls used as a metaphor for their dad’s adultery and memorable cameos come from US basketball icon LeBron James and WWE superstar John Cena (Steven), the latter as a reluctant dirty-talker who wrestling fans are unlikely to look at in the same way again.
Add in some warm chemistry between Schumer and Hader that evokes memories of Woody Allen at his best and we’re on course for Apatow’s career zenith.
Unfortunately, though, the director and Schumer fail to maintain the courage of their convictions during the second half, turning proceedings into more predictable, traditional, rom-com fare.
Schumer isn’t always likeable on-screen either. She grates a lot less than fellow “comedy it girl” Rebel Wilson, but her fear of commitment and at times callous treatment of Aaron and others become a little tiresome.
I’m also not sure why Apatow felt the need to saddle Amy with a lazy voiceover that’s as pointless as it is barely used.
Thankfully, Schumer’s co-star makes up for her shortcomings. In a career full of attentiongrabbing supporting roles, Trainwreck marks a rare foray into leading man territory for Hader – and he knocks it out of the park with an outstanding turn.
Apatow should’ve been more ruthless in the editing suite and shaved off at least 20 minutes from the two-hour running time.
But the second half isn’t all bad: Amy delivers the best “worst eulogy ever”, soon-to-be Flash Ezra Miller’s (Donald) bedroom antics are almost as funny as Cena’s and a fun finale features impressive physical comedy from Schumer that Hader reacts to brilliantly.
Never dull and often top notch, Trainwreck is a riotous ride that runs out of steam before reaching its final destination.
Having a laugh Schumer and Hader share a joke