The 400-Word Review: Tammy
By Sean Collier
July 7, 2014
In Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy awkwardly sang along with aging Top 40 hits while cruising down the highway. In Tammy, Melissa McCarthy awkwardly sings an aging Top 40 hit while cruising down the highway.
In The Heat, Melissa McCarthy was quick to violence and threats as a bumbling cop. In Tammy, Melissa McCarthy is quick to violence and threats as a bumbling robber.
In Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy argues over minutiae with an air marshall played by her real-life husband Ben Falcone. In Tammy, Melissa McCarthy argues over minutiae with a fast-food manager played by her real-life husband Ben Falcone.
Picking up on a trend yet?
It’s disappointing that Tammy is as hollow and imitative a film as it is. Co-written by McCarthy and Falcone and directed by Falcone, this wilted comedy should’ve been an opportunity to show off McCarthy’s considerable skills, both comedic and dramatic, in the first film where she hasn’t been made to share the spotlight. Instead, it’s a poor aping of her previous hits, lacking the writing of Bridesmaids, the heart of Identity Thief and the timing of The Heat.
The title character is an abrasive loser who finds herself suddenly without job or husband, having been fired and dumped on the same day. When she rampages into her mother’s (Allison Janney) home demanding the car keys, her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) offers cash and wheels as long as she gets to tag along.
What follows is an aimless road movie built around the contradictory quirks of the two women ... sort of. That’s the idea, probably, but it’s constantly tossed aside for a velcro-attached romantic subplot, one-third of a crime caper and increasingly unbelievable moments of forced sentimentality.
A loaded supporting cast, which includes Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney, Nat Faxon, Gary Cole, Sandra Oh and Sarah Baker, give admirable, committed performances. So too does McCarthy herself, who can handle the acting demands of the role ably, as she’s capable of much more — and adept at drawing laughs out of weak material, as evidenced by a number of half-written “Saturday Night Live” skits during her hosting gigs.
Ordinarily, I’d feel for McCarthy in a situation like this — but as co-writer, she has no one to blame but herself. I’m baffled as to why Falcone and she opted to take such a feeble swing when handed the bat. Frankly, I hope they’re not given another shot.
My Rating: 4/10
Average Rating on CriticsChoice.com: 53/100
Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at pittsburghmagazine.com/afterdark