Film review: Trainwreck

Amy Schumer and Bill Hader form a solid cast, but they’re hindered by direction that relies to much on verbal gags, says Michael Joyce.

Trainwreck is like a stand up comedy routine that has inexplicably gained a cast list. It is funny and packed with talented (and underexposed) performers playing roles well-rounded enough so as not just to be set ups to a punchline. But even so, it is like hearing one voice telling variations on the same joke for rather too long.

The voice is American comedian Amy Schumer’s, who has written her own big break in the movies, a disguised romcom in which she plays a promiscuous professional lady who is horrified at the prospect of monogamy until she meets a sports doctor played by Bill Hader.

Schumer is a bit of an acquired taste, whose comedy relies a little too much on making inappropriate remarks, but the film is packed with great performances, particularly Hader, pulling off the tricky task of making nice and decent funny, and an unrecognisable Tilda Swinton. It also has a heap of American references and celebrity cameos lost on British viewers, though sportsman LeBron James (a practitioner of the tall men bouncing and jumping game apparently) displays a nice comic touch.

Trainwreck is a film full of promiscuous couplings and ill-advised hook ups and I’m thinking just once, couldn’t someone match Apatow up with a decent editor? What is this obsession with two-hour-plus comedies? It is possible to make a worthwhile two hour comedy, but not if your films are as bland-looking or as dependent on verbal humour as Apatow’s. Trainwreck is a funny film, and I laughed long and loudly at numerous points, but by the 90 minute mark I was pretty much all laughed out – largely on principle.

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Rating: 3/5 stars

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