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After a string of quality movies, McCarthy seems to have released a disappointment.
Review (with Spoilers)
Since Bridesmaids, arguably Melissa McCarthy has been one of the funniest comedians period. For not only does she know how to say vulgar and hilarious things, but her style of physical comedy perhaps hasn’t been seen since maybe when Chris Farley was alive. Unfortunately, though, Tammy seems like it maybe one of McCarthy’s first real disappointments.
Characters & Story
Imagine getting fired from your job, finding your husband Greg (Nat Faxon) is cheating with your neighbor Missi (Toni Collette), and you no longer have a car to get away from everything. Well, that is how we are introduced to Tammy (Melissa McCarthy). Someone who you don’t really feel sorry for at first. For on the shallow end of things, Tammy comes off like most of McCarthy’s characters since Bridesmaids in which she plays what almost seems like the major negative stereotypes of heavyset people. However, as with most of her films, she turns it around by humanizing the character. For this tale, the main one who helps her do so is Tammy’s grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon), as well as Pearl’s cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates). Together, while Tammy certainly doesn’t change overnight, they help Tammy face this sorry life she has and try to inspire her to make it better. Even if it requires a road trip from hell.
To be quite honest, I was surprised at how funny Susan Sarandon could be. Not that I think she is a square, but her acting, at least in movies I’ve seen her in, never made her seem like she could be consistently funny. But, then again, in the movie she plays an old alcoholic. And while she is nowhere near Betty White’s level of using her age to make situations funny, she does get quite a few good laughs in, especially when it comes to Pearl having sex with Earl (Gary Cole).
As for McCarthy, admittedly the best parts were in the trailer. But, there are still a few moments not in the trailer which will give you a chuckle. For the most part, though, it seems like McCarthy, who wrote Tammy with her husband, was more so trying to develop the character than make Tammy someone trying to deliver joke after joke. For while Tammy certainly is a mess, in more ways than one, throughout the film we more so are treated in trying to get to the root of Tammy’s issues rather than watching McCarthy and Sarandon try to give birth to a Thelma and Louise inspired film.
I must say, though, in the pursuit of trying to make her character serious, this leads to a lot of boring moments in which I was checking to see if the film was close to the end of its running time. For one, as noted, the best moments are in the trailer and what is left over will certainly not make you laugh that hard. Also, some of the jokes McCarthy has in the film go on too long and are so bad that I’d argue they should have been cut.
Then, when it comes to the story, it does feel a bit aimless for quite some time, even with us knowing the plan is going to Niagara Falls ultimately. But the true root of the film’s issues, I feel, are because McCarthy isn’t at that place yet in her career where she can really, consistently, humanize a character while balancing out the fact they are supposed to be funny. Which perhaps is the main pitfall of McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone writing, and Falcone directing this film. For when it comes to films McCarthy has been in thus far, you can see that those involved knew how to utilize her talents. But with McCarthy being so close to this film, you can see she is more so giving the people what she thinks they want while trying to mix in her own ideas into the production. Neither of which turns out well for both the story and jokes were subpar when it comes to what you expect out of McCarthy.
Overall: TV Viewing
Quite honestly, even though I laughed 35 times, they were all weak Ellen DeGeneres sort of chuckles. It was rare for a joke to not feel like something recycled from McCarthy’s past movies, and I’d argue this movie was more so made for people to see the characters she played in the past with more detail than her really looking to write something original. So, with that said, I’m definitely saying this is a “TV Viewing” type film. For not only is it disappointing, but it really does make me question if McCarthy should ever write her own material again.