"Tammy" has stellar cast, but doesn't shine
When you see the names Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, and Allison Janney in the movie credits, it would be natural to plunk down the $50 (or whatever the cost of a movie is now) and be the first in line. However, in New Line Cinema's "Tammy" this is not the case.
The storyline is about a chubby, uneducated woman with little social skills who receives one bad news flash after another. Tammy's husband leaves her. Her car dies on the highway. She is fired from a job. Even a fast food robbery goes awry, starting with the fact she cannot hurl herself over a counter (shades of "The Heat").
The character is the same as in "The Heat" when McCarthy teamed with Sandra Bullock for a rollicking, and sometimes poignant, good time. Here is part of the problem. McCarthy plays the same type of character as seen in other movies: the chubby girl who has a soft side to her metal, the slob with a gold heart -- and can be prettied up with the right makeup and clothing.
Yes, there are "fat jokes." Tammy has no self esteem, which is probably the only thing we understand about the character. Like all the others in this movie, the character does not have enough depth to relate to or understand.
Susan Sarandon is wasted as Tammy's alcoholic, pill - popping grandma who has the two things it will take to get Tammy out of the big mess: a car and money. Sarandon is a genius, as we saw in "Dead Man Walking," "Thelma & Louise," and "The Hunger." She is wasted in this movie, appearing to struggle with the stilted dialog and situations given. "Here you are again, drunk by ten a.m.," Tammy admonishes her, and Grandma agrees. Hilarious.
The saving grace is Kathy Bates, playing a family member ("that old lesbian" as Tammy calls her), living in a mansion with her female partner. She gives sage advice and is believable as someone who knows who she is, worked hard to get there, and loves her life. But, Bates could play a pimento and be believable.
Dan Aykroyd, and Allison Janney are Tammy's parents. Neither of them have much screen time; Aykroyd looks old and tired and has about six lines of dialog; three of them are just variations of the other. Janney has shown diversity on stage, on screen, and in television. Here she just follows her daughter around the house giving mom - type advice. If we were to guess what exactly made Tammy who she was by watching her parents, we would remain as clueless as the characters appear.
Then there is the potential boyfriend who pops up out of nowhere, cross-country, multiple times. "How did you get here?" Is Tammy's standard response. A goofy grin is his standard reply with "_____ told me you'd be here." Happens all the time.
"Tammy" has an amazing cast. The storyline is ambiguous but runs along the lines of Finding Yourself (I think). The dialog ruins what could be a charming, funny movie with a fantastic cast. Instead, it falls flat, leaving you to wonder why alcoholism is funny, why these talented people agreed to be in this movie, and just who exactly is "Tammy"?
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