I hate writing about comedians, because I love them too much. Amy Schumer is the absolute tops. She's right about way more things than she's wrong about, and she's absolutely killing it on your Facebook friends' walls with sketches from her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer.
My love of Schu makes it difficult to admit this, but I didn't like Trainwreck. To appease my conscience, every time I am forced to criticize the movie, I'll advise you of something else to watch instead.
It's a charmed life, but for some reason she's incredibly bitter the whole time. Most troubling of all, it's just jokes, and many are straight from her standup. It kills me to say that, as if jokes weren't really awesome things—my favorite things in the world. But Trainwreck feels like a two-hour-plus sitcom in which the plot advances only so Amy can rattle off some more standup. When a funeral serves as an excuse for her to do a tight five minutes of material, even people who were laughing the whole time were checking their watches. (Go watch "Herpes Scare," in which Paul Giamatti plays God in a white sweater!)
Not only does Amy Schumer sound like she's just quoting her standup, all the characters sound like they're quoting Amy Schumer's standup. It's as if a race of intergalactic Schumers invaded New York and decided to inhabit several human bodies: Amy Schumer stars in Invasion of the Sense-of-Humor Snatchers. (Better option: Go watch her actual standup!)
Even a screen full of funny people—Trainwreck is packed with Amy's comedian friends—is more cringe- than laugh-worthy. Dave Attell plays a wacky homeless man, which probably shouldn't happen in 2015 (go watch Comedy Underground). And Colin Quinn plays Amy's racist dad. Even if it's a character telling racist jokes, you're still using racist jokes to get laughs. (Go watch Quinn on his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode in which he doesn't say anything racist.)
Even Schu's acting is questionable. With her experience (theater degree, studied Meisner, worked off Broadway), I have to assume it was a choice for her character to wear a slight smirk for the entire movie. Things are going well? Smirk. At a funeral? Smirk. Having sex? Smirk smirk smirk. (Go watch "Mom Computer Therapy.")
It's the athletes who actually win. John Cena is charmingly terrible as a short-term boyfriend unwilling to come out of the closet, and LeBron James has a big role as himself. LeBron seems like he's in an elementary-school play at times, looking around to see if his parents are enjoying his "acting," but it's super-fun to watch. The funniest scene in the whole movie is one in which Hader and LeBron have a heart-to-heart while playing one-on-one. I don't want to spoil anything, but LeBron is slightly better at basketball.
Save your time, save your money, and most importantly, save your little heart from breaking. You've got your homework assignments now, so go watch that stuff instead of having your opinion of Amy Schumer tarnished.
SEE IT: Trainwreck is rated R. It opens Friday at Cedar Hills, Eastport, Clackamas, Mill Plain, Bridgeport, City Center, Division, Evergreen, Lloyd Center, Movies on TV, St. Johns Cinemas. GRADE B+