Monday, August 10, 2015


To make a sick joke would you want Trainwreck to be your last film, the last film you saw before being gunned down? Unfortunately we’ll never be able to ask the victims of the horrific Lafayette, Louisiana shooting. But since political incorrectness is the lingua franca of a movie which is potentially offensive to so many constituencies, while ultimately remaining hilariously funny, your answer, after seeing it, may very well be a resounding “ yes." Amy Schumer plays a writer working at a magazine called  S’nuff which publishes articles with titles like: “Ugliest Celebrity Kids Under 6,” “How To Talk Your Girlfriend Into a Threesome,” “Whether Garlic Makes Semen Taste Any Different,’ “The Kids Michael Jackson Gave Settlements to” and “Are You Gay or Is She Boring?" Amy, whose attachment issues take the form of an inability to sustain anything but one night stands, starts the ball rolling by looking down at the enormous penis of one of her marks and asking “Have you ever fucked someone before? Where is she buried?” Her editor at the magazine the ruthlessly British Dianna (Tilda Swinton) confides to her “I fucked ¾ of Pink Floyd.” The complication of the film is that it deals in more than one liners. Amy is assigned to do a piece on the sports doctor to the stars, Aaron Campbell (Bill Hader). Against her own good sense, she falls for Aaron, who himself becomes the subject of an intervention by a roster of patients who include LeBron James, Chris Evert, Marv Alpert and Matthew Broderick, when his own career starts to falter. The movie is all over the place and, as you can see, in a big time way. Amy has a drinking problem too and the gags come fast and furious like a bar brawler throwing haymakers. But so many of them land that Trainwreck ends up tearing at both at your vocal chords (which will be strained from all the laughing) and heartstrings too. There'a a film within the film called The Dogwalker, a brilliant piece of deadpan comedy which adds another layer of grotesquery in its painting of a sadistic title character (Daniel Radcliffe) tied up in his own leashes. Amy’s father (Colin Quinn), who in a flashback describes his intention to divorce her mother by asking whether she and her sister would want to play with the same doll their whole lives, is one more example of a black humor that leans towards real darkness. It’s unlikely that a shooting in a Louisiana theater which happens to be playing a comedy would ever make it into a future Apatow film. But this very fine line between tragedy and comedy, between outrageousness and total tastelessness is one that Apatow, who produced Bridesmaids, appears qualified to negotiate.

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