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Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 11/10/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/5/2015
In 1991 when The Comedy Channel and Ha! merged to form Comedy Central, I'm sure that many thought that this was a pointless move, as nothing could save the two networks which had basically cancelled themselves for two years. However, Comedy Central thrived and went on to not only produce many hit shows (South Park, The Daily Show, Reno 911!). It also placed many comedians in the spot light, such as Dave Chappelle and Daniel Tosh, as their seemingly simple shows made them huge successes. The latest comic to have this sort of rise is Amy Schumer, whose stand-up specials and Inside Amy Schumer show have made her very popular. Will she be able to transfer that success into her first starring role in Trainwreck.
Amy (Amy Schumer) is a successful thirty-something living in Manhattan. She works at a trendy magazine and, due to messages from received from father (Colin Quinn) about relationships, enjoys a regular string of one-night stands. Despite her total ignorance about sports, Amy is assigned to interview Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), a surgeon who specializes in working with athletes. The two immediately hit it off and enjoy a romantic encounter. However, Amy is shocked when Aaron calls her the next day, as this isn't her usual routine. But, she agrees to go out with him and she is confronted by some very odd feelings. Is she falling for Aaron? And, if so, what does this successful man see in her?
Not only is Trainwreck Schumer's first starring role in a film, she also wrote the screenplay. Some of the plot is based on her own life. In the film, Amy has a strained relationship with her sister, Kim (Brie Larson), and her father is ill. In real life, Schumer has a sister named Kim (who actually served as Associate Producer on this film) and her father was diagnosed with MS when Schumer was young, something which had a profound effect on her life. I don't know if Amy's promiscuity is based on Schumer's real life, but she certainly has been known to talk about sex a lot in her stand-up act. This script was ushered to the screen by Judd Apatow, director of such comedy hits as Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
Going into Trainwreck, I knew two things. Having seen Schumer's stand-up and snippets from her show, I knew that chooses crude over clever most of the time. While there is some comedic talent there, she often goes for the most obvious gross and scatological joke, as if it's the only way that she can get attention. I know that it's not easy being a female in a male dominated industry, but shocking will only get you so far. The other thing that I knew was that I'm no fan of Judd Apatow. His movies are always far longer than they need to be, they include "serious" subplots which don't work, and there's always jokes about pot, as if that's funny.
Well, Trainwreck certainly did make good on those promises. Schumer's character is meant to be a sexually independent woman, but she's simply a vulgar alcoholic and, just as in Schumer's comedy act, most of what she says goes for being eyebrow-raising instead of actually being funny. Amy talks non-stop during the movie and most of what she says not only falls flat, but it makes her character incredibly unlikable. As predicted, the 125-minute movie is way too long, as it wears out its welcome very quickly and spends most of the film hitting us over the head repeatedly with its themes. The "serious" subplot concerning the relationships between Amy, her sister, and their father, feels as if it's coming from a different movie and Brie Larson looks very uncomfortable at times.
The most annoying thing about Trainwreck is that it thinks that it's a very smart movie, when it really isn't. Look, it's a woman who's the one who doesn't want a commitment. Isn't that daring and original. Yawn. How many times have we seen this in the past. However, the movie keeps shoving this idea down our throats and it doesn't take long for us to begin to wonder why Aaron would want anything to do with this woman, must less pursuing her for a relationship. This leads us to the wasted potential in the film. I don't really think of Bill Hader as the romantic leading man type, but he's good here and he could have really shone had he been with a better leading lady. The true find here is LeBron James who has the funniest lines in the movie and steals every scene that he's in. Coming in a close second is the unrecognizable Tilda Swinton, who's clearly having a blast playing against type.
Trainwreck is a movie which is clearly dealing with too many egos. Schumer's meteoric rise has obviously convinced someone (even her) that she is hilarious and that trotting out any joke will work, as long as it sounds like something that a good girl wouldn't say. Anyone who makes movies as long and self-indulgent as Apatow must think a lot of their work, but it never lives up to the hype. Trainwreck has a few funny moments, but the majority of the film is annoying and you know that things aren't going well when you're focused more on continuity errors during the big finish than on the story. Trainwreck -- that's their word, not mine.
Trainwreck sticks it to Sunglass Hut on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is notable and the depth works well, most notably in street scenes. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The most obvious audio effect is the subwoofer, as the movie has a few bass-heavy songs which really give the low-end a workout. We get some compelling stereo and surround effects which are most evident during street scenes and a banquet.
The Trainwreck Blu-ray Disc contains a staggering amount of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Judd Apatow, Amy Schumer, and Associate Producer Kim Caramele. The Disc offers seventeen DELETED SCENES which run about 45 minutes. Yes, this movie which was already 30 minutes too long could have been even longer. There are several brand new scenes here, so for those of you who wanted more, have at it. Believe it or not, we then get twelve EXTENDED/ALTERNATE SCENES which run about 49 minutes. It's the gift which keeps on hating you. "Secrets of the Wu" (2 minutes) is a deleted scene featuring Method Man. "The Dogwalker" (4 minutes) allows us to watch the movie-within-a-movie (which is actually better than the real movie) uninterrupted. There is a 13-minute GAG REEL, which is followed by 8 minutes of "Line-O-Rama" which provides lines which didn't make it into the movie. "Directing Athletes: A Blood Sport" (10 minutes) takes us on-set to see the making of the various scenes which involved sports stars. Apatow talks about how he approached working with them. "Behind the Scenes" (89 minutes) contains 11 different sub-headings which focus on various aspects of the production. "Trainwreck Comedy Tour" shows Schumer and company hitting seven different spots to promote the movie. The extras are rounded out by the RED BAND TRAILER.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long