"Monogamy isn't realistic."
It’s rare for comedy directors to not have a hand in writing their movies. Unless they are known for directing over writing they will primarily choose to write their own projects. This tends to give them more creative control as it’s unlikely that anyone will question the style of their directing if they’re doing it for the material they wrote and should therefore know exactly how it should be brought to the screen. But for the first time, Judd Apatow is directing a screenplay that someone else wrote, the star of his latest film Amy Schumer, how will it turn out?
Amy (Amy Schumer) feels that she has life figured out. She has a good job as a journalist and a very active social life with absolutely no commitments at all. However all of this begins to change as she finds herself falling for Doctor Aaron (Bill Hader).
Though this isn’t Apatow’s script, his fingerprints are all over this film, and certainly not in a bad way. As we’ve seen with his other great comedies like ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’ he uses it as an opportunity to examine and navigate the bizarre world of sexual culture and its politics. There’s a persistent isolation to his characters whether they be sleeping with everyone or no one. The story may be fairly typical and by the books, but under Apatow’s direction there’s a certain cynical frame of mind to everything that occurs within the framework.
Schumer’s performance also assists this less conventional take on the genre as her character may verge on insufferable and slightly annoying, but it plays well to the comedic tones of the film and her turns of emotion and sentiment stop you from disliking her. She manages to capture a sense of self denial that stops the audience from dismissing her as selfish and we instead see an unusual vulnerability to her instead.
What makes her character more likable is the fact that Bill Hader’s Aaron likes her. Sometimes you can feel bad that one character is associated with one you despise, but in this case Hader’s straight and sensible performance combines with his sheer congeniality makes him both relatable and understandable but at the same time a bit offbeat. As a result you sympathise with him and sort of support his decisions, mostly.
There’s also a lot of laughs to be had from the ensemble cast and their reaction with the two leads. Tilda Swinton and Brie Larson are showing off their full comedic talents to bounce off of the more outlandish characters. Then you have some frankly brilliant celebrity cameos such as John Cena, who has a humorous scene in which he gets angry over being mistaken for Mark Wahlberg, 'I look like Mark Wahlberg, ate Mark Wahlberg' and Lebron James is there as well.
But despite all of these plus points there’s no escaping the fact that ‘Trainwreck’s’ script lacks originality and is not pushing the boundaries of the romantic comedy genre quite as much as it thinks it is. The overall message of the film seems slightly convoluted as it spends half of its runtime poking fun at standard monogamous relationships only for A,y to suddenly decide that’s what she wanted all along. Apatow isn’t quite as modern or edgy with the fairly traditional values and morals of ‘Trainwreck’.
There are however moments in which it can be wonderfully relevant to current relationships. They all seem to stem mainly from the method in which the actors and director execute the script, and at the end of the day that is where ‘Trainwreck’ primarily pulls its strength from.
At times it feels convoluted and at others overly simplistic, but the way in which it is carried out ultimately make ‘Trainwreck’ a fun spin on the romantic comedy genre, if not a revolutionary one.