Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 2015. Universal Pictures, Apatow Productions, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network. Screenplay by Amy Schumer. Cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes. Produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel. Music by Jon Brion. Production Design by Kevin Thompson. Costume Design by Jessica Albertson, Leesa Evans. Film Editing by William Kerr, Peck Prior, Paul Zucker. Golden Globe Awards 2015. Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 2015. Washington Film Critics Awards 2015.
Comedian Amy Schumer gets the star treatment in a big-screen comedy that showcases her talents, and since she wrote the screenplay, it makes sure to showcase them all: goofy comedy, sincere comedy, drama, moments both improvised and contrived, and a few dance moves. Indulgence is one thing, but this romantic comedy about a self-destructive magazine writer (that old Doris Day standard job for young women in New York sex comedies) could do with a little trimming since, as is usual for Judd Apatow comedies, it runs much too long. Schumer cats around with the many handsome boys of New York and overindulges in alcohol while barely inspired by her employment at a trashy men’s magazine (run by a hilariously overcoiffed Tilda Swinton), challenged to live a more serious life when the assignment to write about a sports doctor (Bill Hader) sees her falling in love with him. He, meanwhile, is a savvy but sweet guy who adores her quirky ways but doesn’t know if he can handle the insecurities that see her putting up barriers that can often make her quite mean. There’s sexual humour, gross-out slapstick, touching poignancy (sideline plots involving Schumer’s dad and her uncomfortable relationship with her sister), plus celebrity cameos, the appearance of a very funny LeBron James and an unnecessary sequence with Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick and Marv Albert that feels like Apatow is just name-dropping his contact list. Schumer awkwardly peppers the experience with voice-over narration that contributes little and disappears well before the film ends (and is incongruous with the fact that the movie features scenes with Hader that don’t involve her), her bid for Bridesmaids complexity making sure to include as much on-screen barfing as she does crying at funerals. In short, it’s a mess and, as usual, Apatow does nothing to clean it up, but here’s why you should watch it: it’s really goddamned funny. Between the star’s delivery, her witty lines and her facial expressions, she is a full-on movie star and I welcome her to keep writing herself big-screen roles (although someone might tell her that doctors are used to working without sleep, that sequence that is overlong and doesn’t make that much sense). It’s great to see a movie that purports to be about a woman behaving badly who actually behaves badly, some of her habits cause genuine concern, but it’s to the leading lady’s credit that her redemption is something we all care to see her achieve as well.