Movie Review: Tammy (2014)

Plot Synopsis: After losing her job and learning that her
husband has been unfaithful, a woman (Melissa McCarthy)
hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking
grandmother (Susan Sarandon).
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New Line Cinema
Runtime: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Rated: R (for language including sexual references)
Director: Ben Falcone
Writers: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates
Comedy
Who can get away with incessant food/fat jokes by falling back on her indomitable personality without really relying on acting skills? Try Melissa McCarthy, in one of her most disappointing roles yet.

The story is about a depressed alcoholic elderly woman with health problems (Sarandon) and an out-of-work binge-eater problem child of a granddaughter (McCarthy) whose husband is cheating on her. The two get together to leave town and blow off steam and granddaughter Tammy wants to use grandma for her car and cash.

Tammy is a badly conceived effort that manages to insult everyone involved in it, from lesbians, to the actors involved, all the way down to the viewers. So far as its efforts at being constructive or exhibiting personal growth go, it aims low and hits even lower because it has nothing else to offer besides comedy of excess based on fractured lives and doesn’t exhibit enough skill to make even that much of it work. The writers figured that trying to play up a “big girl comfortable in her own skin” comedy along the lines of Bridesmaids and Heat would work. In this case, they were wrong.

McCarthy, aside from demonstrating her usual unstoppable charisma, isn’t all that funny because her character lacks definition and is too bizarre to make us root for her. What humor the writing allows to filter through is limited to one-liners and weird exchanges that don’t take our minds off of the dull and dragging energy between Sarandon and McCarthy over the movie’s first half.

But the bigger problem is, again, that the story never wants to put forth enough effort to make us feel like we should be invested in it. Appearances of other big names, such as Kathy Bates and Dan Aykroyd, do nothing but make themselves look out of place (years down the line, stars regret appearing in movies like these).

The script is a mostly un-engaging romp of twat jokes and socially maladjusted booze humor. It’s a movie about losers for losers, and its message is probably lost on anyone who would enjoy it. Please avoid.

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