Movie Review: Trainwreck

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Written by star Amy Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck tells the story of Amy Townsend, a successful magazine reporter whose love life consists solely of one-night stands and casual flings.  Enter Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a good-guy sports doctor whom Amy is assigned to interview.  After an initial meeting followed by drinks and journalistically questionable sex, she stumbles into a relationship with him.

The plot from then on is predictable, with Amy second-guessing her feelings for Aaron and unconsciously sabotaging their burgeoning relationship.  That Trainwreck ultimately succumbs to rom-com conventions instead of subverting them is disappointing, but the movie has far greater problems.

In classic Apatow fashion, Trainwreck is easily twenty minutes too long.  It’s full of scenes that overstay their welcome, leaving the actors desperately trying to improvise something funny while the audience waits for the movie to get back to that whole “plot” thing.  The worst of these sequences occurs when LeBron James (playing himself) stages a “love intervention” for Aaron along with three mid-level sportscasters (playing themselves) and (for no apparent reason) Matthew Broderick.  There are few things more cringe-worthy than failed attempts at humor, and this scene is utterly painful to get through.

Brie Larson as Amy’s married sister and Colin Quinn as her aging curmudgeonly father turn in solid supporting performances.  The latter’s subplot lets Schumer deliver a heartfelt monologue in the movie’s most serious – and possibly best – scene.  Here, and at a few other points in the movie, she shows real dramatic ability; it’s too bad we see so little of it.

There are some laughs to be had in Trainwreck, most of them courtesy of Hader and Schumer, who share a romantic and comedic chemistry that makes them effortlessly likable.  If only the rest of the movie shared that quality.

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