Pin It
Favorite

Sad Clown 

Melissa McCarthy provides laughs, albeit shallow ones, in Tammy

click to enlarge Tammy and her grandma, on the prowl.
  • Tammy and her grandma, on the prowl.

I'm happy to live in a world where Melissa McCarthy can be a movie star. Even if you assume that she's working a single stock character — an irrationally confident force of nature whose size might be used for physical punch lines — it's baby steps of progress that she can now headline a Hollywood comedy that in years past might only have gone to a male comedian. And tell me you wouldn't rather watch her than Kevin James.

It feels, though, like McCarthy is trying to stretch a bit in Tammy, which she co-wrote with her husband (and the movie's director) Ben Falcone. The titular Tammy is a perpetual screw-up, and when she loses her job, her car and her husband in one day, she decides to take the radical step of leaving her Illinois hometown. So it's time for a road trip, requiring the car — and the accompanying presence — of her alcoholic, diabetic grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon).

At the outset, Tammy feels like familiar territory for McCarthy, especially as she fumbles her way through that initial crappy day. She's well-paired with Sarandon, who gives an edge to the tired trope of the profane granny, while also providing a context for how Tammy became such an irresponsible mess.

But there's an awkward inconsistency to the way McCarthy and Falcone have written Tammy's character. The buffoon who bumbles through robbing a fast-food restaurant and doesn't recognize the name "Mark Twain" isn't the same person who later simply seems beaten down by life; the aggressive woman who comes on to a quiet guy (Mark Duplass) isn't the same one who often looks wounded by the way others treat her. McCarthy has the acting chops to play someone who's more tragic than merely clownish, but Tammy wants it both ways: giving her a dramatic arc, and selling the audience a completely different comic character who looks funny falling down. ♦

Trailer


Tammy
Rated R · 97 minutes · 2014
Official Site: tammymovie.warnerbros.com
Director: Ben Falcone
Producer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Melissa McCarthy, Rob Cowan, Ben Falcone, Chris Henchy, Kevin Messick, Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener and Michael Disco
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole, Toni Collette, Nat Faxon, Sandra Oh, Ben Falcone, Sarah Baker, Rich Williams, Steve Little, Dakota Lee, Mark L. Young and Mia Frampton

Now Playing

Sorry there are no upcoming showtimes for Tammy

Tags: , , ,

  • Pin It

Speaking of Film, Review

Latest in Film

  • True West
  • True West

    The Magnificent Seven returns to a much-needed territory: Western heroism
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Enemy No. 1
  • Enemy No. 1

    Oliver Stone's Snowden doesn't break new ground but is still a thrill ride
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Scratch That
  • Scratch That

    Bridget Jones's Baby feels almost proudly stuck in another era
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Kongos, the Joy Formidable

Kongos, the Joy Formidable @ Knitting Factory

Tue., Sept. 27, 8:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Scott Renshaw

  • True West
  • True West

    The Magnificent Seven returns to a much-needed territory: Western heroism
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Scratch That
  • Scratch That

    Bridget Jones's Baby feels almost proudly stuck in another era
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Swing and a Miss
  • Swing and a Miss

    Hands of Stone can't carve out a distinctive space among boxing biopics
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Feminist First

    Through her music, Dolly Parton has always shown women how to stay strong
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Art of the Deal

    Local indie labels offer artists another marketing option, but not everyone is convinced they're necessary
    • Sep 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

COUNTRY


Readers also liked…

  • Where Are the Women?
  • Where Are the Women?

    A critic's year-long deep dive into the way movies portray half of humanity
    • May 12, 2016
  • Behind the Music
  • Behind the Music

    The Grammy Awards are about much more than what you see on TV
    • Feb 11, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation