Trainwreck (2015)

The biggest problem with self-publishing is that, without an editor, there’s no one around to tell you what to cut. And while Trainwreck certainly wasn’t an independent film, at just over two hours in length, I got the feeling Amy Schumer (who both wrote and starred in this semi-biographical film) didn’t leave much on the cutting room floor.

Amy Schumer plays Amy Townsend. She’s a successful writer for an edgy men’s magazine, but her personal life is a bit of a, well, you know. She drinks, she smokes weed, and despite being in a semi-serious relationship with Stephen (John Cena), she sleeps around. A lot. In an early scene Amy’s father Gordon (Colin Quinn) explains his impending divorce to his daughters by telling them “monogamy isn’t realistic,” and it appears mid-20s Amy hasn’t fallen far from the tree.

Back at the magazine, Amy must write a feature article about Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a highly successful sports doctor. Conners is everything Amy is not — classy, subtle, faithful, and moral — but that doesn’t stop the two of them from becoming a couple. Over time their relationship develops problems, and therein lies the problem — so much time was spent making Amy seem immoral and unfaithful that it makes it hard to root for her relationship to work out.

An equal amount of time is spent on Amy’s relationship with her family. Amy’s father has multiple sclerosis, and is moved to into an assisted living home. Kim, Amy’s sister, resents her father for cheating on their mother and is quick to throw away his sports memorabilia and move him into the cheapest home they can find. Amy, in return, resents Kim’s ideal family model. In real life, Amy Schumer has a sister named Kim and a father who had multiple sclerosis, which is probably why this entire subplot feels less like a part of the movie and more like a personal catharsis for the writer. When Amy’s father passes away (in the movie), she takes the microphone and gives a perfect tribute speech to her imperfect father. I don’t know if that’s what happened in real life too, but fiction’s a good place to address real world regrets.

While the film has received largely positive reviews, I felt like it was a two-hour RomCom that (a) should have been 90 minutes long, and (b) was like on the Rom and Com. There are a few laugh-out-loud moments (Amy on the treadmill in Dr. Conners’ office is hilarious), but overall, it didn’t work for me. In a film where at three different times people hooking up had to establish a “safe word,” I had a hard time imagining Amy magically settling down.

In the real world, a relationship between a driven, successful sports doctor and an alcoholic, weed-smoking, unfaithful mess probably wouldn’t last, but hey, in Hollywood, anything can happen.

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