Saturday, August 8, 2015

Trainwreck

Judd Apatow movies have the distinct and perhaps dubious honor of being among the raunchiest mainstream movies while also being the most subversive. Where 40 Year Old Virgin challenged male promiscuity, and Knocked Up suggested that maybe getting and staying together for the sake of a child is not such a bad thing, we now have Trainwreck, which challenges that holiest of grails: Female promiscuity.

Some time ago, rather than rein in the men who are dogs, a loud, connected and unimpeachable group of women decided they should "get to be" dogs, too, hence this story of a woman who finds her life of drunken hookups unsatisfying is controversial.

I mean, not to sane people, of course, but to...well, they're out there in the media. You can find them without even looking too hard.

Amy Schumer stars, and she wrote it, sort of by cribbing the opening of Shallow Hal, reversing typical rom-com tropes, and mixing in a bunch of her trademark humor which, yes, is reminiscent of Sarah Silverman and Janeane Garofalo. (In fact, I was frequently reminded of a Garofalo bit where she's kicking the guy out of her apartment post-coitus.)

There's a lot of what typically makes Apatow films enjoyable: Frequent humor delivered with a sure hand, not frantically or desperately, and a supporting cast which doubles both as humor relief pitchers and dramatic backstops. So, while the cute love story between Amy and Aaron (Bill Hader) would be an okay chick flick (like Bridesmaids chick flick, not Beaches chick flick), this movie transcends that with:
  • Aaron's best friend being a very sensitive (and passionate about Cleveland!) LeBron James.
  • Amy's former boyfriend being the phenomenally thick and musclebound Steven (wrestler John Cena), unable to talk dirty, and possibly a little "confused" sexually.
  • Amy's dog of a father, played by Colin Quinn, having MS and being both wildly offensive and lovably human.
  • Amy's sister Kim, played by Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now), who's generally the nice one, but who has unresolved resentment toward dad.
  • Vanessa Bayer as the work friend. I've never seen her before, but she was quite appealing.
  • Dave Attell as the homeless guy who begs outside of Amy's apartment. Attell may have adlibbed all his stuff, it sounds so...Attell-y.
  • Randall Park (Kim Jong Un in The Interview) and "Delocated"'s Jon Glaser play Amy's dorky co-workers at S'NUFF magazine.
  • Mike Birbiglia (Cedar Rapids) and Evan Brinkman have the sort of thankless task of being Kim's husband and stepson (respectively), who must be dorky and unlovable when Amy has one point of view, and then endearing when she reforms.
  • There's an awesome running gag about an arty film called "Dogwatcher" featuring a morose, chain-smoking Daniel Radcliffe as the guy walking seven dogs, and a troubled Marissa Tomei as the woman who wants to give him one more dog.
  • Tilda Swinton as the evil boss and Ezra Miller as the odd intern. Swinton and Miller were the contentious mother and son of the grisly We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Actually, we've seen so much of Miller, we were going nuts trying to remember where. The Boy and I both thought maybe he was part of The Wolf Pack but he had an important role as "8612" in The Stanford Prison Experiment, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Kevin and, hell, going back a ways, City Island.

It doesn't all work. Arguably LeBron James makes the movie, with his earnest Aaron's BFF performance, but then he's gone from the last third of the movie. (He shot all his scenes in one week.) And there's an intervention that features a randy Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick and Marv Alpert that broke the suspension of disbelief for me.

I mean, I guess the one-on-one basketball between Hader and James was stretching it. But the intervention seemed sort of pointless.

100 year old Norman Lloyd is in it. That was nice.

Raunchy, though. A lot of mid-coitus humor. A lot of post-coitus humor. A lot of pre-coitus humor. A lot of humor in non-coital situations referencing coitus or other sex acts.

As for Schumer, she's not model thin, and that works pretty well for her, although she's not looking great next to the cheerleaders. Literally. I mean, her body looks fine but cheerleaders are top-notch athletes and she doesn't come close. Which is played for a pretty good, if overlong, gag.

Her face, on the other hand? Well, I'll grant that Fox News has some great makeup people, but the Amy of 2015 looks a bit haggard compared to the one of 2010. I don't know if that's due to her fair complexion, or if they wanted to, to some degree, not over glamourize her, but she doesn't quite pull of the "only four years older than Brie Larson" thing.

She is likeable, and a fine actress (as comedians often are)—her interactions with and about her father being truly fine, emotionally moving work (and apparently based on her real life situation with her father).

Anyway, by this point, you should probably know if you like this sort of thing, this Apatow humor, with the condoms and the bodily fluids and what-not. If you do, this is a reasonably good example of same.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. It's on our list. Glad your viewing was psych killer gunman free.

    ReplyDelete

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