Directed by Judd Apatow
Let’s get what you came here for out of the way first: This is a VERY, VERY funny film. I mean, laugh out loud, occasionally crying, perfect spit-take PLUS soda through your nostrils, funny. Even my parents, who hate any comedy that relies on blue material, thought it was hilarious. So…you know…go see it.
But now let’s get to what I came here for…how does it work as a film: It’s interesting that I saw this days after seeing “Irrational Man,” because it dawned on me that Apatow is to Gen Y’ers and Millenials what Woody Allen once was to Boomers and Gen X’ers (okay, maybe Jewish Boomers and Gen X’ers). Woody Allen cut his teeth doing stand up and writing jokes for other comedians…as did Apatow. Woody made VERY silly films to start and then began to ponder the existential questions of man as one ages. Apatow made VERY silly films to start and then began to ponder the existential questions of man as one ages. One can only hope that Apatow never makes a film as blah as “Irrational Man” in his dotage. In many ways, and probably because Schumer had so much to do with the creation of the film, it feels like (and often is quite literally) an homage to the “Annie Hall”/”Manhattan”/”Stardust Memories”/”Hannah…” era of Allen’s canon.
But where they part ways…and where Apatow’s films always fall just short of excellent…is in how they each execute endings. Allen, as a rule, never tried to answer those big questions in his most well-made films…nor did he wrap a neat bow on a film (with the breathtaking exception of “Hannah…”). Conversely, when you go see an Apatow film, you KNOW there will be a very happy ending in the most fireworks-laden way possible (with the exception of “Funny People” – which merely charmed its way to a happy ending). And I wonder if it’s necessary. Are we going to laugh any less? Are we not going to tell everyone we know to see it if we don’t get a spectacular and silly ending? It feels like a cop out, or worse, like its been written based on how it tested. Okay, that’s a bit harsh, but they are almost always jarring and certainly ridiculous. And I think we trust him enough now to stop that.
Hader plays a wonderful straight man to Schumer. LeBron is subtle and warm and believable. Brie Larson is woefully underused, but she always is. Colin Quinn is FANTASTIC as Schumer’s dad. Even professional westler, John Cena, is both heartbreaking and hilarious (in one of the most bizarre sex scenes ever). The writing never lags except during one totally unnecessary scene that feels like an SNL sketch – stops the film in its tracks.
But this movie belongs to its star. Schumer is more than funny. She’s real. You’ve met her before (or maybe you are her). She perfectly represents the fear, longing and joy of the perpetual single person – without belittling (Ed. Note: I’m 51 and a lifelong bachelor – so I have insight on the subject). She’s a star…which we already knew…but now she’s a movie star. And it’ll sure be nice to have another comedienne besides Melissa McCarthy open a film twice a year.
Trailer attached is NSFW: