- RatedNC16 /GenreComedy
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While Melissa McCarthy was stellar in ensemble casts such as ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011) and madcap comedies such as ‘The Heat’ (2013) and ‘Identity Thief’ (2013), she falls short as the unlikely leading actress in her latest offering, ‘Tammy’.
Unlike the other movies where McCarthy shines playing abrasive, crude and ungainly characters devoid of any elegance, her rehashing of these traits as Tammy becomes stale and predictable.
Tammy is a down-and-out employee at a fast-food joint who just got fired, whose beat-up Toyota Corolla got wrecked by a deer on the highway and who returns home to find out that her husband (Nat Faxon) is cheating on her with the neighbour (Toni Colette) – all in quick succession.
After the cliched bad day, she heads to her mother’s house just a few doors down promising to leave town. Her grandmother Pearl (played by the inimitable Susan Sarandon) offers her car and cash, as long as she can go along and they stop at Niagara Falls on the way.
Tammy (Melissa McCarthy, left) and her grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) embark on a madcap road trip
And as the formula goes, the road-trip movie is filled with the usual tropes of hijinks, drunken nights in bars, and a run-in with the law.
McCarthy served as producer and co-writer on the movie, teaming up with her husband Ben Falcone as director.
With all that vested interest and creative control, McCarthy somehow manages to write herself a role that makes her character less and less likable as the movie progresses. There is little that is smart or winsome about Tammy.
The film also gathered a dream cast including Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh (as lovers), as well as Allison Janney and Dan Aykroyd (as Tammy’s parents), but they are underused in bit parts.
With wiry curls of her grey wig, mum jeans, dumpy clothes and prosthetic "cankles", Sarandon is the best part of the movie. As grandma Pearl, she is on a perpetual bender, drinking her way through most of the movie and providing comic relief. The Oscar winner is no stranger to road-trip movies, having starred in the seminal ‘Thelma & Louise’, but that film had more charm in its little finger than ‘Tammy’ ever manages to muster.
Tammy robbing a fast-food joint is one of the few standout scenes
There are genuine moments of hilarity, such as Tammy robbing a fast-food restaurant, and McCarthy excels at physical comedy.
But for a movie that is meant to be, for the most part, a wacky comedy, all the best bits are already in the trailer. It’s disappointing because we know that McCarthy is better than this.
'Tammy' is now showing in cinemas