Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for Language including Sexual References
Directed by: Ben Falcone
Written by: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Gary Cole, Sandra Oh, Mark Duplass, Toni Collette
Melissa McCarthy has officially become the female version of Chris Farley. Appearing in side roles and then quickly becoming a comedic powerhouse, McCarthy is a money-making machine and plays the same damn character in every single on of her movies. There’s also been a decline in the quality of her career choices. THE HEAT was fun, but nothing special. IDENTITY THIEF was standard stuff, but TAMMY is an obnoxious mess. Melissa McCarthy plays the title character and works under the direction of her husband (they wrote the script together). The result is a movie that comes off as almost unbelievable in how inept it is. The tone is jumbled and humor mostly consists of lame fat jokes that have already been seen in the past three films from McCarthy.
Tammy, the title character, is having a bad day to say the least. She’s wrecked her car on a deer, lost her job at a greasy fast food joint, and found her husband having an affair. Fed up with life itself, Tammy accompanies her alcoholic grandmother on a road trip. Along the way, they visit various locations, meet up with a few friends, and cause general mayhem. Some unlikely love might also pop up along the way. The general outline of TAMMY is what substitutes as a plot. TAMMY is GROWN UPS but with Melissa McCarthy and legitimately good actresses in throwaway roles. It’s all over the map and feels like it lasts an eternity.
The script is a mess to begin with. For the most part, TAMMY tries to be a trashy forgettable romp that is sure to engage the Happy Madison regulars. However, what makes things even worse are the occasional attempts at heartfelt dramadey thrown into the already unfunny mix. The emotionless pay-offs try to pack some staying power and fail to elicit a single reaction other than indifference. Not only is TAMMY a lame comedy, but it’s one with an identity crisis and that makes it so much harder to watch.
Besides McCarthy’s recycled role, Susan Sarandon’s spotlight performance as Tammy’s hard-drinking grandmother is embarrassing. Kathy Bates and Sarah Oh are thrown in for a couple of scenes together. Dan Aykroyd and Gary Cole have been known for some classic comedies, but they’re certainly slumming it here. Mark Duplass is a hit or miss filmmaker/actor in real life, but in the world of TAMMY, he plays a totally bland love interest. There’s no discerning feature about this guy that makes him remotely likable or tolerable. He’s vanilla and that’s all you can say about this character. To add insult to injury, the slight romantic angle between him and McCarthy goes for about three scenes during the entire film. Adding a romantic comedy angle makes the already chaotic mix of profane would-be humor and lame attempt a dramedy even more unfocused.
I will give TAMMY credit for a few brief moments that total up to about 5 minutes of screen time. These scenes involve a plot point that’s already been shown in the trailer, involving Tammy robbing a fast food joint. While the whole event isn’t shown in that 2 minute teaser, the follow-up scenes actually made me chuckle a little bit. Those are the only fleeting moments that I can give the film props for. Still, that’s 5 good minutes out of 96. This leaves 91 minutes (still considered feature-length) that were painful to trudge through. The rest of the movie just wanders aimlessly in search of a point, purpose for existing (other than money), and a plot.
TAMMY is the kind of film that will send Melissa McCarthy down one of two paths (or maybe oddly enough, both). She can either pull the whole Adam Sandler complex and keep making the same crap over and over or she can listen to everyone (including tons of moviegoers who don’t critique or write reviews) and aim for quality projects. TAMMY comes off an annoying, worthless exercise in self-indulgence that’s nothing short of hateable.