Undoubtedly the reigning queen of comedy at the moment, Melissa McCarthy puts in another solid effort as the down on her luck title character in Tammy. Directed by McCarthys’ husband/master of the cameo Ben Falcone, the film boasts a bunch of Hollywood elite in small yet memorable performances, yet this doesn’t save Tammy from an overall poor script that barely managed a few chuckles out of me.
Hitting a deer on your way to work, being fired from said job and walking in on your husband with another woman is how Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) finds herself hitching a one way ticket out of her home town with her party hardy, cashed up Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) in tow. On the road, Tammy and Pearl reconnect using a mix of booze, sex and general tomfoolery. Along the way they meet father/son duo Earl (Gary Cole) and Bobby (Mark Duplass), with the latter obviously the bee to Tammy’s honey. Though hitting a few speed bumps along the way (read: robbing a fast food chain and doing prison time to name a few), Tammy ultimately finds herself through these mishaps, and realises maybe she isn’t a complete failure after all.
The funniest moments unsurprisingly come from leading lady McCarthy, whose pure charm and improvisation keep this movie from drifting off into dull oblivion. Considering McCarthy and Falcone penned the script, the expectation level for humour was at a high, and disappointingly Tammy never quite reached the bar my mind had set. The few truly funny moments were too infrequent, creating a clunky film that had no real comedic rhythm like other female empowered hits Bridesmaids or The Heat. It just goes to show that perhaps McCarthy should leave the writing to more seasoned professionals, and do what she does best: take any loser with a heart of gold and create comedy magic.
One thing is for certain, McCarthy has some serious power in Hollywood with all the A-list stars she managed to agree to appear in this film. Sarandon deglamourizes and ages herself some twenty years in order to play an alcoholic version of Louise to McCarthy’s hapless Thelma. Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh play a gay couple who help Tammy and Pearl hide from the cops while simultaneously throwing a lesbian Fourth of July bash that colleges across America would envy. Tammy’s parents are played by seasoned comic Dan Aykroyd and everybody’s favourite screen mother Allison Janney, who always manages to play overprotective neurotic parent to perfection. The only one of these stars that was underused was Australian sweetheart Toni Collette, who plays the husband stealing neighbour Missi for about a total of five minutes screen time, most of which was spent in the background making reactionary faces while McCarthy let her freak flag fly.
This is by no means McCarthy’s greatest role to date (we love you Megan!) but that doesn’t really matter considering the insatiable flavour she brings to the table, which always leaves audiences wanting more. Tammy isn’t the funniest film I’ve seen this year by a long shot, but it is an important film in terms of women now seemingly becoming major players in the comedy arena, paving the way for future girl powered comedies.
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