Thankfully, in name only.
Although his latest film Trainwreck mostly misses the mark, and fails to keep up the standard of the greats - 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up - there's still just about enough Apatow in this to keep you involved.Far from a prolific filmmaker, this is actually only the fifth film from Judd Apatow as a director, and none of them have really been trainwrecks; not even one that goes by that name. Even without his name attached to the writing credits, star Amy Schumer’s script takes on a very Apatow-esque guise when brought to life before the camera, probably in large part due to his trademark improv riffs, where characters simply rant at each other and the best lines are kept in the final cut. These are probably the highlights in an sometimes fumbling romantic comedy which yearns so desperately to be different, but ultimately follows the course of... just about every other romantic comedy ever; arguably something you’d have hoped never to see from the man. Schumer’s narrative gets off to a great start, with dad trying to explain to his young daughters the reasons behind the infidelity that broke up his marriage to their mum – using dolls as a tool – setting the stage for the painfully detached lead character (Schumer) to churn through drunken one night stands, avoiding even staying the night, let alone actually committing to somebody (apart from John Cena's hilarious bodybuilder). Then she meets a quirky sports injury doctor (Bill Hader) who actually somehow manages to break down some of her barriers and get... a second date.Comedies of this ilk (often springing from the broader Apatow production umbrella) frequently attempt to portray the most unpleasant characters you can find, in a bid to somehow ‘fix’ them along the way, in redemptive arcs that mirror the romantic trajectory that they are taking. It’s the romantic dramedy equivalent to a corrupt cop thriller; a tried and tested routine. Apatow has generally favoured real characters, though, rather than outright clichés, or exaggerated caricatures, using embellished situations to further his comedy without robbing from the merit of their very relatable core. Trainwreck dashes this in reckless abandon, in favour of a more traditional redemptive-arc-meets-up-and-down-rom-com arc, and threatens to alienate its audiences as a result. For every glimmer of something you can smile knowingly about, there’s a smothering of over-the-top stupidity, the likes of which only exists in the movie comedy world, a world which – for the most part – Apatow has (thankfully) shown little interest in. Still, Hader proves something of a saving grace, toning it down for a remarkably likeable co-lead, and Schumer still proves endearing, even if painfully so, and, even on an off day, there’s still some enjoyment to be had with anything from this filmmaker – this is no exception.
Picture QualityTrainwreck's video presentation is largely impressive.
Universal's Region Free UK Blu-ray release promotes a mostly excellent 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1. Detail is, for the most part, excellent, offering up fine object work, outstanding textures, shadow detail and background flourishes; skin texture and clothing weaves are impressive and clarity is resounding, all the while with a healthy sheen of grain leaving the image natural. There are a couple of slightly off-kilter shots - one whilst Aaron is investigating some kid's 'sports' injury where softness encroaches with an almost-halo-like effect; whites bloom and the image becomes more problematic - but overall there's plenty more demo material here than niggling glimmers.
Sound QualityTrainwreck's DTS-HD MA 5.1 track provides a strong aural accompaniment.
Dialogue - razor sharp and often improv, at least in style - gets keen presentation across the fronts and centre channels, remaining easily the most important element of the piece, although myriad environmental noises set the scenes naturally, whilst a strong soundtrack allows for an engaging backdrop. Effects pick up the hum of electronics, street bustle and office buzz, disseminating them evenly and accurately across the surround array, and maintaining a warm, if not particularly distinctive input from the LFE channel. It's not demo material, but it's a strong accompaniment nonetheless.
ExtrasExtended Version, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes and more gags, the extras tick all the right boxes.
With a 4-minute longer Extended Version (neither better nor worse than the Theatrical Version, merely an alternative), as well as Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes and a Gag Reel and Lino-O-Rama, there's plenty more material to keep you chuckling long after the credits have rolled. A few short Featurettes offer some further Behind the Scenes input, but the meat comes in the additional material, with arguably the alternative improv riffs in the Line-O-Rama, as you'd only expect, proving the highlight.
Blu-ray VerdictA mid-range effort from Apatow still leaves this a cut above the rest.
With strong video and audio, and a welcome selection of bonus material on the extras package - not to mention two cuts of the film - fans should certainly consider this a decent purchase, whilst Apatow followers should definitely check it out, even if they may not find it a keeper.
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