Sunday, November 29, 2015

Trainwreck

Addendum: We watched the second half of the film the next night and I liked it much more, even though it ended as I predicted below, with a kiss on a basketball court.

Trainwreck should not to be confused with Trainspotting or Strangers on a Train or How to Train Your Dragon or Planes, Trains and Automobiles, or Titanic (though I did get a sinking feeling after the first five minutes of viewing). I love Amy Schumer. I've read lots of interviews with her where she's normal-sounding and modest and messed up and interesting. Inside Amy Schumer was always entertaining, even if the skits sometimes feel flat or were clever versus guffaw-inducing. And I knew from other people who have seen the movie that it wasn't going to stray too far from the rom-com genre. But I still am not loving the movie (we stopped watching it On Demand after the first hour because we had to go to beddy-bye). I'll finish watching it, even though I know how it ends based on the first hour. Right now, I'm at a part where the two are attending a basketball game and LeBron James is telling Amy not to play with his boy's heart. Next, they'll be some falling out where she'll get too hung up on the exclusivity factor, even though she really likes the guy.  She'll sleep with someone else (the young male intern, perhaps) and he'll break up with her. Then, something will happen with her dad and they'll be reunited and it will end with either a kiss or a basketball joke or both. Where her show is unpredictable and pushes the boundaries of good taste, this movie doesn't stray far from the genre and isn't very surprising. The most surprising thing about it is that it's not very funny.

Okay, here's what I like though. I like that it's about a woman who's not sure she wants to commit and it's the guy whose totally into the relationship. I like that she sleeps around without feeling guilty or trampy or like she should be doing something else, such as nesting. I like that she thinks her sister's marriage is a bore and that the idea to her is repellent. I like that she's a writer and has her own career. I like that there are no jokes about her body or at the expense of her looks (with perhaps the exception that someone says her ass looks like a man's). I like that her boss is a woman and that Amy's character doesn't pretend to like sports just because the guy she likes does. I like that her dad has MS and that's not the whole defining part of his personality. I like that disability is part of the story but not the whole of the story.  Also, Colin Quinn, who plays her father, was the most relaxed and funny actor in the whole film. Him, I believed.

What I don't love:

1. Why is LeBron James in this? I feel like it was someone's bad idea to try to attract the male viewers who may not object so much to seeing the movie if an athlete has a starring role. He's not a good actor and every time he was on the screen, I was reminded that I was watching a movie. I don't get what's funny about having a black athlete as the best friend of a white physician, except maybe because it's meant to be incongruous, which strikes me as sorta racist. Also, didn't they do that twenty years ago in Airplane with Kareem Abdul Jabbar as the literal co-pilot?

2. Many of the scenes beat the joke into the ground. There's a long scene where Amy's having sex with her sort-of boyfriend, a body builder with zero things interesting about him, and that goes on and on and on. The joke isn't about it going on and on; the joke is about him not being able to talk dirty to her. There's a similar scene in the movie theater where he's arguing with another patron and spewing these insults that make him sound gay.  This happens like five times. Yes, we get it. He's super masculine but might be gay. That's not particularly funny or clever. Then yet another scene takes place between LeBron and the love interest played by Bill Hadley (more on him in a second) that also keeps going on forever as they make jokes about how much Cleveland sucks.

3. Bill Hader as the love interest. Like, looks shouldn't be everything, but he seems better suited to an American remake of The Black Adder than the leading man in a rom com. I like the chemistry that they have, and he's funny and charming, but...It reminded me a little bit of the disconnect in When Harry Met Sally with trying to convince us that Meg Ryan's character could be smitten by Billy Crystal. You have this super cute chick and this average guy with a crooked face. I don't think I've ever seen the reverse. Like, I don't recall a romantic comedy where the leading lady was average and the guy was adorable. That would be like having a movie starring Bradley Cooper and Lena Dunham (I like her, but she's not conventionally attractive). Or Mindy Kahling with Matthew McConaughey.  Could we get someone of like attractiveness for her, such as Paul Rudnick or that guy from Bridesmaids?

4. It didn't push any boundaries. It wasn't dark at all, in any places, it wasn't dirty, it wasn't transgressive like her comedy usually is. The jokes were very PG-13 and not even uncomfortable, like in some of Apatow's other films and definitely not like Schumer's comedy show. They were obvious. I wanted more finger blaster skits, and fewer gay jokes.

I'll watch the rest tonight and let you know if any of my predictions are incorrect.


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