It’s Friday once again! Huzzah! And I’ve got a brand-spankin’ new pair of films to talk about. The target audiences for these are way different from each other, but they kind of touch on some of the same themes, I guess (albeit very, very loosely), and they’re both actually pretty good for what they are. But we’ll get into that. Let’s sing a little Duet, shall we? 🙂
Synopsis: “Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. Individually and together, they are both wonderful. Schumer plays what I imagine to be an exaggerated (or, who knows, maybe not so exaggerated) version of herself. She is Amy, a woman terrified of commitment and all about one-night stands. Until she meets Aaron (Hader), that is. Hader is basically perfect—a sweet, sincere doctor who is instantly crazy about Amy and works hard to keep her around. Like, where can I find one of those? Schumer and Hader have fantastic chemistry. They’re fun to watch.
- The supporting cast. A lot of surprising yet wonderful faces pop up in the movie. I knew LeBron James was going to be in it from the commercials, and though I wasn’t quite sure how I’d feel about his presence, he was actually fun to have around. John Cena plays a pretty great (and ridiculous) role in this, too, but I don’t want to talk about that much for fear of spoilers. Tilda Swinton is basically unrecognizable as Amy’s boss in this. In fact, I didn’t even know it was her until I looked up the cast afterward. She’s delightfully evil in this. Also, two pretty big actors play roles in a faux movie within the movie, and it’s pretty awesome.
- It’s genuinely funny and not sappy. Yes, I suppose it could be labeled as a rom-com, but it’s a sharp, self-aware rom-com that doesn’t hold back or stick to the confines of the genre. Honestly, I think just about everyone could find something to enjoy in this.
The Low Notes:
- Ezra Miller will completely weird you out. Like, to a level that I might not be able to watch The Perks of Being a Wallflower without feeling uncomfortable. Lord knows how I’m going to react to his Flash…
- The magazine Amy works for is the absolute worst. I understand that the magazine is supposed to be a sharp commentary on sexism and all that clever stuff, but just…ugh. It’s repulsive to an absurd degree. Why Amy would ever work there to begin with is an absolute mystery to me—especially since she’s such a strong female character.
- It doesn’t quite reach the groundbreaking level that it could. Like, it’s funny and clever and enjoyable, but I’d kind of expected more from Schumer. I guess it speaks volumes about the impact her TV show has had. Trainwreck is undoubtedly sharp and relatable and funny, yet I kept expecting it to be a little sharper, a little more relatable, and a little funnier. Still a great film—just not a perfect one.
The Staccato Version: I feel like director Judd Apatow and writer/lead actress Schumer are a wonderful team, and I’m kind of hoping this isn’t their only collaboration. I think they could do some really fantastic things in the future, and I think Trainwreck is a solid start. Schumer and Hader make a likable pair, the supporting cast is a delight, and there are definitely laughs to be had for all. It doesn’t quite trump Spy as my comedy of the summer, but it’s still worth a movie ticket.
My Grade: B+
Synopsis: “A young man and his friends embark upon the road trip of their lives to find the missing girl next door.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Nat Wolff. After seeing him in a supporting role in The Fault in Our Stars, it’s nice to see Wolff getting his shot as a leading man. As lovestruck teen Quentin, Wolff is a likable, relatable character, and I enjoyed him as a narrator. I think Quentin could’ve very easily been a frustrating character, but Wolff makes him work.
- The charming, coming-of-age tale. Quentin does a fair amount of growing during the search for his vanished crush Margo (Cara Delevingne), and it’s interesting seeing what he learns about himself along the way. Of course, it’s not just about him—his best friends Radar (Justice Smith) and Ben (Austin Abrams) do a fair amount of growing, too, and I enjoyed being able to watch this while catching glimpses into their hardcore bromance. You can tell these young actors had a lot of fun (particularly during their hilarious, energetic rendition of a certain TV theme song).
- The mystery aspect. Though I enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars—another John Green book-to-screen adaptation—well enough last year, one thing I will say about it is that I don’t care to watch it a whole heck of a lot. This, however, I think I’d be more likely to watch again just because of the compelling mystery. It’s still a bit of teen romance, yes, but the ultimate focus is on deciphering the clues Margo has left behind and tracing her path. Also, I think the incorporation of the title into the plot is pretty cool. But, as I so often say, no spoilers! 😉
The Low Notes:
- Margo is the worst. Delevingne does what she can with the character, but I found her selfish and pretentious and not at all worthy of the attention that Quentin gives her. Really, just plain unlikable. I realize that, to a certain degree, we’re supposed to feel this way about her, but I think the degree of likability needs to be either dialed down or amped up because we’re left feeling kind of confused about her. Speaking of the ladies of this movie…
- The female characters in general are something of a letdown. I found this surprising after seeing what a great character Hazel was in The Fault in Our Stars. That is, I know Green can create solid female characters, but I found Radar’s girlfriend Angela (Jaz Sinclair) to have more sweetness than actual personality and Margo’s friend Becca (Caitlin Carver) to be downright boring with only half-hearted attempts to make her anything but a pretty face. Come on, Green. You can do better.
- The end isn’t exactly satisfying. It’s almost impossible for me to talk about it without giving some important plot points away, but I will say this: Quentin’s actions/behaviors might annoy you, and you will probably dislike Margo just as much as you did in the beginning, if not more. That’s all I’ll say for now.
The Staccato Version: I realize that these teen-centric movies aren’t going to be for everyone, but I found Paper Towns to be a fair amount of fun—significantly less heavy than its Green-affiliated predecessor, The Fault in Our Stars. That said, if you like TFiOS, I think it’s safe to say you’ll like this, too. And you’ll DEFINITELY enjoy a certain cameo in the film…but you’ll just have to see it to find out what I’m referring to. 😉
My Grade: B+
That’s all for now, folks! Before I sign off, I just wanted to give you a little heads up: Silver Screen Serenade is shutting down for a bit. Not long, I promise—probably not more than a week or two. I just need a break. And I need time to catch up on my blog reading, which I have had literally no time for. I’ll probably post a quick note on Monday to remind everyone of my absence. Could you do me a favor? Could you pay SSS a visit every now and then? Lol. I hate thinking of how the old gal’s stats are gonna plummet while I’m away. Maybe I’ll freshen her up with a redesign or something…We’ll see. Anyway, have a good weekend, kiddos!