Trainwreck: My Life as An Idiot is a movie adaptation of a true story surrounding the life of American comedian Jeff Nichols, a man who suffering with Tourette’s syndrome, multiple personality disorder, attention deficit disorder, balance impairment, dyslexia and to top it off is an alcoholic.
The story follows Jeff (Seann William Scott) on a series of adventures for want of a better word; and although it’s told from the perspective of a comedy angle, it’s also important that you take into account this is a very real story. On his various adventures he makes the acquaintance of Lynn (Gretchen Moll) who through her own personal ticks manages to try and put Jeff back on the right track.
It’s nice to see Scott tackling a daft comedy role, it’s like he has returned to his American Pie roots. After a couple of serious roles it seems his face has not forgotten its comedy past, because despite where he goes in his career I personally think that Scott is best placed in this arena. But can surely understand his need to look at other types of film-making. What is nice is that his return to comedy is matched by a very complex role for him to play, let’s face it actors seldom get acclaim for playing an actor with one disorder, let alone a whole series of them.
The story varies from being incredibly funny, almost side splitting in its humour; to incredibly serious at the drop of a hat. At first these stark contrasts kind of rub you up the wrong way, but as it progresses it’s almost like the movie is giving you a taste of life with this series of very unfortunate illnesses. Watching Jeff have a rather unpleasant bed staining incident on his first encounter with Lyn, to his second which involves a terrible burning and a similar after effect left me in stitches, I literally roared the house down, thinking at the same time as Jeff that this poor woman who for some reason is attracted to Jeff, must believe that he has some sort of terrible bowel disorder to continuously end up in a series of almost stomach wrenching similar scenarios. The next scene which I need to bring up because I laughed so much it made me cry, involved Jeff as a child with a very life size Puma, whom he called Scotty. Due to a tear in a wrong place, Scotty comes back to haunt Jeff through his childhood to his adult life.
To add further comic element to the movie, the wardrobe department dress Seann William Scott in some of the most horrific fashion disasters I have ever seen, kind of like a four year old child in the 1980’s but as an adult. A green shirt with fish detail, combined with lemon trousers, green socks, and black shoes possibly giving you a reasonably good example into the bad taste of the movies fashions. Scott spends much of the latter part of the movie in check trousers of different designs, and a jersey with a racoon on the front. While fashion is not something I’d normally pick up on its so important here, the combination of Scott’s daft comedy face and the most horrendous fashion gaffs is just a treat to behold, once or twice you can even get the impression that he is looking at himself and asking “What on earth am I wearing?”
I mentioned the serious side, and it’s an important part of the movie, you see his relationships breakdown because of his many illnesses, you see a man literally driven insane by the things he never really wanted to be on the receiving end of. If it were not based on a true story, you might not have the same reaction, but I found it quite sad to see one man continuously kicked down further and further, as he is evicted, and rejected by all those that surround him. Luckily a real good belly laugh is never too far away so you don’t need to draw too much on the doom and gloom for too long.
The one consistent addition to Jeff’s life is his relationship with Jeff Garlin best known from the hit TV show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Lenny is a friend of Jeff who too has suffered from alcoholism, which is where the friendship formed, not from a bar but from alcoholics anonymous.
Scott and Moll both perform well in the leading roles; though in fairness Moll could have been played by anyone. It’s really the show of Scott who as usual puts his heart and soul into this highly memorable performance.
The real Nichols appears in the final credits of the movie, doing his unique stand-up act, all of his material based on his actual life.
For unknown reasons Trainwreck was completed in 2006, but shelved away until late last year. Trainwreck is a very low budget Canadian movie that’s fan base has forced it out into the world, after fans of the comedian and Scott demanded to see the movie. So far it has been met with a great response as it makes its way around the world.