Saturday, July 18, 2015

Trainwreck [2015]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O)  ChicagoTribune (3 1/2 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B+)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McCarthy) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review  

Trainwreck [2015] (directed by Judd Apatow, screenplay by Amy Schumer) is a well-written and very well-acted / directed romantic comedy that yes is exaggerated / crude (parents the R-rating is certainly deserved) but is certainly one that is full-of-heart in ways that other perhaps safer / cleaner comedies are often not.

As in the case of her show on the Comedy Central network Inside Amy Schumer [2013-], Amy Schumer plays a fictionalized persona, "Amy", that's clearly exaggerated for laughs -- a late 20-something boozer, smoker, and one who's had _so many sexual partners_ that clearly "the thrill is gone."  Not that she doesn't still kinda like sex, it's just that by this point, she knows _exactly, exactly, exactly_ what she wants and once it's done, it's "Ay, GEEE... listen, I / you need to be going, I have a LOOONNG DAY tomorrow, and <patronizing smile> I have to get some sleep.  It was nice, really, but ... good bye."

Yet, she is NOT evil.  Indeed, a truly redeeming aspect of the film is her relationship with her (similarly in HIS DAY, horn-dog / drunk of a) father (played by Colin Quinn).  But he's now older, indeed "in a home" and dependent on his two daughters, Amy and Kim (also played wonderfully by Brie Larson) for care.  Here, Amy, the otherwise drunk / partying "irresponsible one," does most of the heavy lifting while, younger sister Kim, pregnant and with a (blended) family of her own, mostly complains how much her dad's nursing home care costs... I know cases almost exactly like this in my own life / work / ministry.

Further, when (minor SPOILER ALERT ...) her dad does die, Amy gives a remarkably funny yet POIGNANT eulogy to him that, I, as one who's performed some 300 funerals in my work as a priest simply have to appreciate: "My dad was a piece of work.  Probably everybody here was insulted at least once or twice by him during their lives.  Come on, raise your hand if you've been put down or insulted by him during his life (everyone raises their hand).  Yet, most of us loved him anyway.  Again raise your hand, if you loved this man (again everyone raises their hand.  And I find this completely believably true)."  And from there she continues ...

But this is a rom-com and so not really about her relationship with her father (though it was GREAT that this aspect of her character was shown and developed in the film).

Instead, the film becomes about her somewhat unlikely relationship with ... a nice guy, Aaron (played by Bill Hader), a sports-doctor (admittedly mostly to professional athletes), who she meets when she (whose character "knows nothing of sports") is sent to interview him for a piece for the über-glossy Maxim-style "men's magazine" with possibly the worst name ever -- it's called S'Nuff --  by her utlra-hip a-personality boss (played by Tilda Swinton).  His life was supposed to wreak of testosterone, glamour (and the folks at S'Nuff could hope ... PERHAPS EVEN SCANDAL), and instead ... he's just a nice guy, fixing knees of superstar athletes like Lebron James [IMDb] (who plays a fictionalized version of himself) ... so that they could make a lot of regular people ... "happy" ... "build community," etc.

Again, A WONDERFUL ASPECT OF THIS FILM IS that ALMOST NOBODY is portrayed in the way that one would think that they are.  Amy, promiscuous to the point of boredom / drunk, HAS A HEART.  Dr. Aaron Collins, glamorous sports doctor to the rich and famous IS SURPRISINGLY UNCOMPLICATED / NICE.  Lebron James, superstar athlete, who could have been really arrogant IS ALSO NICE, concerned for his friend, Aaron.  Amy's dad, a jerk for a good part of his life, IS MUCH MORE THAN A JERK.  And the list goes on ...

It's a surprising film.  Yes, it's R-rated, and no 10, 12, 14 or 15 year old really "needs" to see it.  But it's NOT a bad movie for a 20+ year old to see.  Because a lot of times the way we judge / dismiss people is really not fair.

Anyway, good job Amy, et al, (surprisingly ;-) good job ;-).

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