There are few people who are funnier these days than actress Melissa McCarthy. You may know her from her TV show, Mike and Molly, or you may remember her for her career-making role in Bridesmaids. She is a Chicago-area native, so she has been on my personal radar since she was in Gilmore Girls way back when. She's funny and she comes from an improvisational comedy background. Her husband, Ben Falcone. The two of them have been in comedy troupes together over the years and both are funny.
Last year, McCarthy was in The Heat with Sandra Bullock and the movie was not a critical darling, but it was hilarious. So, it was this summer that I hoped her latest effort, Tammy, would also defy the negative criticisms and be hilarious. This is the first film produced by McCarthy and it is written by her and her husband (along with a few others).
Sadly, it looks like the critics who got to see advanced screenings were right.
The movie never quite hits the right tone. Some scenes are a little outrageous, with tawdry humor and jokes, but then there are scenes that are supposed to be serious and poignant and they never hit the right mark. It is also very hard to care for the lead character, the titular Tammy.
Tammy is a woman who, apparently, has never grown up. She drives a rundown car, works at a fast food joint, has tempter tantrums that involve throwing things around, and is in a marriage that is falling apart. Within the course of a single morning her car breaks down, she loses that job, and discovers her husband is cheating on her. She moves two doors down, back in with her mother, with plans on borrowing a car to drive out of town. This is apparently something she has threatened to do before.
Her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) says she has money and a car and if Tammy will drive her to Niagara Falls, she'll let Tammy have that car. So, the two of them set off on a road trip.
There are many talented people involved in this movie. In addition to McCarthy and Sarandon, there is also Toni Collette, Dan Aykroyd, Allison Janney and Gary Cole. Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh make cameos. Many of them are there for a scene or two, look lost, adding nothing, and then vanish.
Sadly, this movie vanishes quite fast, too. Not once did it make me really burst out laughing the way The Heat did or McCarthy's performance in Bridesmaids. It made me smile a few times, but then grew rather tiresome.
Tammy never knows if it wants to be outrageous, pleasant or silly. It never finds its footing and never strikes the right pacing or chords for it to be a great comedy film. This one barely rates watching on cable.
Her's hoping McCarthy comes back, and soon, with something better.