It’s been a while, I know, and I could list several reasons/excuses why… but perhaps the main reason I haven’t written is that I haven’t been inspired. I’ve seen plenty of movies and documentaries these past few weeks, but none left me feeling fired up from excitement, or disappointment. Ant-Man was fine, Tig was fine, Staten Island Summer was boringly bad. Seeing Trainwreck this past weekend, I hoped to be rejuvenated with modern humor and a story of love and sex and heartbreak from a woman’s perspective but instead… it felt so normal. The trailer brags that Trainwreck is “not your mother’s romantic comedy,” but lots of moms enjoy Bridget Jones’ Diary, Fever Pitch, Bridesmaids… So they’ll like Trainwreck too.
I recognize the two mistakes I made going into this movie– 1. I had high expectations and 2. anticipated a refreshingly relatable story. With Amy Schumer (playing semi-autobiographical Amy) behind the wheel, fans had reason to set a lofty bar. With her hit show Inside Amy Schumer tackling real issues with hysterical punchlines and poise, I was prepping for the best. Blame it on the two hour run time, the touch of Judd Apatow, the rush through a father-with-MS plot line… I left saying “meh.” The funny moments were funny (watching Aaron [Bill Hader] and Lebron James [playing himself throughout the film] play basketball, Amy imagining what could go wrong in her steady relationship) but were overshadowed by moments played purely for laughs, like “Which Johnny Depp would you want to sleep with,” anything Norm said, and the entire movie theatre scene with the guy who looks like “Mark Wahlberg ate Mark Wahlberg.”
The film, because of its pitch as a modern love story, also made me imagine something relatable. Dare I say it, a film of When Harry Met Sally heart and realness. Instead, Hader plays a sports doctor who’s connected to every single New York athlete and is BFFL’s with Lebron James. His apartment could be the set of an Apple ad. Meanwhile, Amy’s co-worker (and best friend? Who are her friends?) Nikki (Vanessa Bayer) plays such a romcom trope that you’d think the entire movie is a mockery of love stories, but the ups and downs of Amy and Aaron’s relationship are played so sincerely the audience grows to understand that’s not the case. But, why then, the dancing Knicks girls?
There are silver linings: Schumer and Hader each proved themselves able to carry a film. Schumer was no surprise, but I was particularly impressed by Hader, whose Stefon and Herb Welch from Saturday Night Live I’d grown to love. As a star of a romcom his humor definitely helps, but he’s also charismatic, compassionate, and so believable as a sports doctor who falls for a journalist writing a story about him. Even James was entertaining. I avoided reading anything about the movie before seeing it and consequently didn’t recognize Tilda Swinton as Amy’s boss, Dianna. I want to watch it all over again just to stare at Swinton, styled to look like a leather bag in Ice Queen outfits. If you want to laugh, Trainwreck will do the trick, but it won’t make you laugh out loud all that much or leave you with a sense of empowerment or butterflies. Leave those to SNL, Inside Amy Schumer, and When Harry Met Sally, respectably.