Some people have all the bad luck. Jeff Nichols is such a special case that you don’t know whether to laugh with him or cry about his life. The best man is schizophrenic, autistic, clumsy, self-centric and also a former alcoholic with fear of commitment. It couldn’t get any worse. So look at your own life and consider yourself lucky. That’s pretty much the message of ‘Trainwreck’. In ‘Trainwreck’ Seann William Scott plays the role of Jeff Nichols. As bizarre as it may sound, Nichols does seem to exist and faces all kinds of problems every day. The man only seems to attract bad luck and nothing is spared him. For example, one day he lets his stepfather’s house burn to the ground, while the next week he lets a date turn into hell on earth. In between, Nichols is battling all kinds of illnesses such as schizophrenia and alcoholism. The bright spot in the darkness is Lynn (Gretchen Moll), a young woman with a difficult past. Unfortunately for Nichols who falls in love with her, she is married to a wealthy businessman.
Although ‘Trainwreck’ doesn’t sound like a fun laugh film, there is plenty to laugh about in this tragicomedy. Scott, best known as the flat Stifler from the ‘American Pie’ saga, puts on a beautiful role that surprisingly never goes over the top. Nichols remains human and is portrayed in a sensitive, honest way. Not as a loser, but as a warrior who bravely fights himself every day. Often clumsy, but always in good spirits. The optimism with which Scott portrays his character is endearing and compelling. Moll also plays a powerful role.
Director Tod Harrison Williams has found a strong balance between drama and humor. There’s plenty to chuckle at Nichols’ strange antics, while vicarious shame and pity beg for your attention too. Still, ‘Trainwreck’ is not for everyone. The experiences of the main character are extreme and they never end. You don’t get any peace of mind, because Nichols’s life is apparently so cluttered with grotesque events that every day seems to end as a carnival party that got out of hand. The film therefore lasts just a little too long. Does not detract from the fact that ‘Trainwreck’ has become a sensitive, sweet film with an unforgettable anti-hero in the lead.