‘Trainwreck’: A win for Judd Apatow — and LeBron James

16 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Trainwreck’ review: Amy Schumer’s big-screen debut almost gets stolen by LeBron James.

With “Trainwreck,” Mr. 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?“I don’t really like to spoon,” says a panicked Amy (Amy Schumer), while being persuaded by her new boyfriend (Bill Hader) to spend the night. “If I stay, can we sleep in a realistic position?” I’m sure it will be said that Schumer is playing the guy role in “Trainwreck,” written by her and directed by Judd Apatow, who’s found his groove collaborating with funny ladies.It’s almost impossible to turn on the internet these days without seeing the smirking, wide-eyed face of Amy Schumer, looking like the cat who ate the canary.

So when Hader stopped by HuffPost Live along with Judd Apatow and Vanessa Bayer to chat about their new film “Trainwreck,” which hits theaters July 17, we had to find out whether Hader does a Judd Apatow impersonation. As Amy’s so-right-it’s-painful love interest, sports doctor Aaron Conners, he sidesteps her manic commitment-phobia with comebacks like, “Well, I think we really like each other and we should start dating.” LeBron James, playing himself, is Aaron’s sensitive best friend, who interrogates Amy thusly: “Do you hear his name when you listen to the wind?” Even wrestler John Cena, as a no-necked Mr. Her patriarchy-skewering, happily raunchy and reliably hilarious sketches have gone viral more often than the flu. “Trainwreck” doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel so much as rotate the tires of comedy. 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. It’s a fairly formulaic tale, one we’ve seen many times with a shallow, hedonistic Lothario who meets his true love, struggles with self-confidence and commitment issues, but ultimately grows up and seals the deal.

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. She’s written herself a hell of a prickly role, a woman who’s internalized the early lessons of her absentee dad (Colin Quinn): “What if I told you there was only one doll you could play with forever?” he asks his young daughters, by way of informing them he was leaving their mother.

In Amy’s adulthood, this plays out as a string of hookups — enabled by a capacity for drinking herself into believing they’re good ideas — though she’s hardly the disaster the title implies. She works as a writer at a men’s magazine, S’Nuff, where a near-unrecognizable Tilda Swinton plays her boss, a tanned shark whose sole sustenance seems to be misogynist story pitches (“Are You Gay, or Is She Just Boring?”). It turns out to be a fairly long wait, since director Judd Apatow (working for the first time from a script he didn’t write) still doesn’t know how to make a comedy that runs under two hours. A collection of scenes of her blossoming romance particularly tickles her gag reflex: “I hope this montage ends like Jonestown.” She needles her sister Kim (Brie Larson) about her dorky husband (Mike Birbiglia) and mannered stepson (Evan Brinkman) and, early on, she cheats on a guy she’s seeing (Cena) with countless other men. She’s kind of a jerk, which puts her firmly in the tradition of the rom-com dude — a witty misanthrope who can be reformed through the love of a virtuous significant other.

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. I found myself wishing Amy’s singleness, and shameless non-monogamy, didn’t have to be chalked up to fatherly indoctrination and solved like a problem.

Conners’ profession allows for the casting of other demographic-expanding, real-world athletes as well, including former New York Knick Amar’e Stoudamire and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but their stiffness only spotlights how impressive James is in his big-screen debut. Fans looking for Schumer to revolutionize the romcom the way she has standup and skits will be disappointed, and in the post-“Bridesmaids” world, her drinking, drugging, promiscuous character isn’t exactly a black swan. When you put that many funny people in front of a camera and let them have at it (i.e. the Apatow method), there’s bound to be some wheat among the chaff.

To expect a writer-actor-comedian, even one as au courant as Schumer, to shatter the molds that Hollywood has been using for decades in her first starring role is unrealistic. The lowdown: Ascending comedy star Amy Schumer makes her big-screen starring debut as a hard-partying, monogamy-avoiding magazine writer who falls for the sports doctor (Bill Hader) she’s assigned to write a profile of.

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