x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idiot

"He may be a total disaster, but at least he's entertaining", the strapline mentions. Oh, how wrong we were: this is one of the least funny, most tedious films.

With a strapline like "He may be a total disaster, but at least he's entertaining", and Seann William Scott (of American Pie and Road Trip fame) in the title role, one would expect at least a few laughs. Oh, how wrong we were: this is one of the least funny, most tedious films you are ever likely to endure. Jeff (Scott) is a man with issues too numerous to mention. As one of life's rejects, he operates on the edge of society and everything he touches ends in disaster. He uses therapy groups as outlets for his frustrations, where, apparently, he makes people laugh with his tales of woe - his only redeeming feature (and his ticket to stardom, since this is based on the life of the comedian and writer, Jeff Nichols). Except he doesn't make us laugh. Not once. We stumble through his catalogue of stomach-churning, belief-defying errors, head in hands, suspended somewhere between abject horror and intense boredom. It is a rags-to-riches yarn, but too much of the film's focus is on the rags and we soon start to lose patience with his incessant failings. Scott is a ball of physical energy, but what worked in American Pie grates here, as he shouts his way through speeches about mental illness. When he finally gets his act together in the last 30 seconds, we want to weep with relief that our (not his) ordeal is finally over. Never has a film's title described its content so succinctly.