How John Cena became the funniest part of ‘Trainwreck’

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer’s ‘Trainwreck’ pals come crashing into Hollywood in new comedy.

“I did craft services, and that was the hardest,” she joked to Variety. “I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone and that was a real challenge.” All quips aside, Amy can’t believe how amazing it is to be promoting her new film, which was directed by Judd Apatow and is due for release in American theatres on July 17. Two surprises emerge from the agreeable Judd Apatow/Amy Schumer comedy “Trainwreck”; namely a) it’s actually a quite conventional romantic comedy, albeit one with a high raunch factor; and b) LeBron James, playing himself, is very, very funny. (Maybe sports fans knew this already?

A clutch of comics from the Trainwreck cast — Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn and Dave Attell — travelled with Schumer, talking up the movie while raising money for charity doing standup on the Trainwreck Comedy Tour. (Which charity? Trainwreck is Amy’s first major starring vehicle and celebrating the impending debut is a big deal for her, as she has been working hard to rise in the comedy circuit for over a decade. “This is the best night of my life,” she gushed on the red carpet prior to the film screening. “To be here tonight and to share the movie with people is something I will never forget.

But, seriously, if that basketball thing doesn’t work out, someone should get this guy his own rom-com; his exuberance and timing, particularly when he suddenly starts quoting Kanye West, are terrific.) Schumer, who’s all over the media these days thanks to her hit TV series “Inside Amy Schumer,” wrote the screenplay and stars in “Trainwreck,” playing a character loosely based on herself (and, it seems, Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City”). Amy Townsend, in the film, is a hard-drinking, hard-partying Manhattan magazine writer with a raucous love life; she’s been taught, by her rascal father (Colin Quinn), that monogamy isn’t realistic.

Enter Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a sweet sports-medicine doctor (James is his patient/best friend) … and Amy starts to wonder if growing up and settling down might not be the nightmare she’s imagined. In the outdated rule book of whom we get to see on the big screen and how we get to see them portrayed, leading ladies need to be likable, a characteristic that’s tiresome and comedy-killing. Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before.

I’m so f***ing happy!” “I’m not a big trainwreck like my character, but close,” Amy said. “I don’t get laid as much as she does and don’t drink as much. There’s nothing remotely fresh about this plotline (or the way Apatow, true to form, makes the movie 20 minutes longer than it should be), but “Trainwreck” works as comedy more often than it doesn’t — and that’s rare enough. Her vehicle, “Trainwreck,” written by and starring Schumer, luxuriates in the idea of selfishness while shifting our antiquated ideas of what we want from a female lead. Apatow discusses some of his techniques for helping build both the comedy and chemistry of the scene as these two characters first begin to flirt with each other (interrupted by LeBron James). She did her interviews with Comedy Central’s Mike Birbiglia (Orange Is the New Black; Adult Beginners); he plays Amy’s dweeby brother-in-law in the movie.

The supporting cast is dotted with funny people; both expected (among the cast are “Saturday Night Live” vets Quinn, Vanessa Bayer and Leslie Jones) and unexpected. James, Marv Albert, Chris Evert and Amar’e Stoudemire (whose stuntman deserves a big hand) contribute good bits, as do Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei as stars of a soulful, hilarious art-film-within-the-film called “The Dog Walker.” (Yes, I would watch that movie.) And Tilda Swinton, cheekbones flaring, makes something wickedly brilliant from the role of Amy’s editor — if you’ve ever wondered what sort of magazine the White Witch of Narnia would run, wonder no more. ‘Trainwreck,’ with Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James. Or, “monogamy isn’t realistic” as he requires Amy and her younger sister to recite over and over after a conversation comparing partners to dolls. The central couple, though, determines whether a rom-com lives or dies, and “Trainwreck” gets by on Schumer’s unexpectedly adorable chemistry with Hader, which seems to sneak into the movie almost in spite of itself.

Amy Townsend, though initially kind of a jerk to Aaron, has an inner sweetness that slowly emerges (particularly during one emotional scene that Schumer movingly plays) — and by the end of the film, you’re ready to cheer on this couple. Colin Quinn plays her father, a politically incorrect wiseass who is the life of the party at the nursing home where he lives — much like Schumer’s real life dad, who has MS. “It’s so intense now.

It’s an interesting line that the movie skirts for the duration and a testament to Schumer that this mostly unlikable character remains enjoyable to watch. All this makes it particularly odd that for about 75% of the movie, this freewheeling character is not only in a relationship but also in a relationship with a really, truly nice guy. Pretty soon, and without much of a fight, they’re Brooklyn Bridge-gazing, Central Park carriage-riding, and engaging in other cheesy rom-com tropes that are overlaid with a snarky, self-conscious voiceover from Amy. It’s an eyebrow-raiser that might seem like even more of a cop-out if it weren’t for the magnificent Bill Hader, charming and hilarious even in this straightforward role.

With “Trainwreck,” director Judd Apatow has triumphantly exited the depressive bubble that he found himself in with the earnest but flawed “Funny People” and “This Is 40.” But, much like those films, “Trainwreck” feels too long. If you’re looking for something radical, you’d be best to stick with Schumer’s television show. “Trainwreck” is just good fun, and a lot of it at that.

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