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Movie Review: Melissa McCarthy has moments, but 'Tammy' possesses few charms

Anyone going to see Tammy will want to like it for one very simple reason – Melissa McCarthy. The comfortable-in-her-skin comedic actress is a modern day Lucille Ball. Her latest opens Wednesday (July 2).

Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy star in "Tammy."
Warner Bros.

Intelligent, hilarious and sexy with a hint of danger and a dollop of comedic courage, willing to do anything to get a laugh she’s found her niche in television and movies.

Unfortunately, she’s not enough to make Tammy, an amiable, sweet little comedy rise above the pedestrian. That’s a shame given the cast which includes Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Dan Akroyd, Allison Janney and Gary Cole.

There exist plenty of moments that will elicit laughter from the audience, but the problem comes in the fact that director Ben Falcone, who co-writes with McCarthy, his wife, doesn’t tie the all together in a satisfying manner. Too many other moments fall flat. And others are just plain predictable within the confines of this film.

McCarthy portrays the title character, a shlub of a woman who works at a fast food joint, has little pride in her appearance and a mouth to match the vulgarity of her appearance. She’s one of life’s losers itching to get away from her small Illinois town.

She has a particularly bad day when she gets fired from flipping burgers and comes home to find her husband enjoying a romantic dinner with their neighbor. That sets her off into a tizzy that leads her to wanting to get the hell out of Dodge.
Her grandma Pearl (Sarandon, who no sane guy could ever envision as a grandmother), who has the things Tammy lacks like cash and a car, joins her on the trip.

The ultimate goal of the jaunt to make it to Niagara Falls, a place that Pearl always wanted to see. Along the way, grandma gets to dance the horizontal mambo despite her alleged aged and she and Tammy get some bonding time. No shock there, huh?

Thankfully, that’s not a part of the film that’s overplayed as Tammy receives a couple of lessons in life that allow her to move forward.

McCarthy brings zest and appeal to her portrayal of the loveable loser and Sarandon has a ball flying free as Pearl. Together they pop off the screen. It’s not Thelma & Louise, but it has moments.

Ultimately, however, the film falls to a tepid story and cohesion issues. Tammy may possess charms, but few are worth remembering.

Movie: Tammy
Director: Ben Falcone
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Gary Cole, Dan Akroyd
Studio: Warner Bros.
Rated: R for language throughout
Running time: 96 minutes
George’s rating: 2.5-of-5 stars
Check for theaters and showtimes at Atlas Cinemas, Cleveland Cinemas, Fandango.com and MovieTickets.com