Tammy the Terrible
Poorly conceived “comedy” misses the mark
By Ian Murphy 07/10/2014
Directed by Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates
Rated R for language including sexual references
1 hr. 36 min.
Comedies are supposed to elicit laughter. When they don’t, we are left with an uninteresting piece of cinema that floats between worlds, destined for repeated viewings on late-night TV — and not on the good channels, either. Similar to the ones, that when the movie is edited for content, no one notices. Tammy is one of these movies.
Tammy is the tale of Tammy (Melissa McCarthy), a friendly enough loser who is down on her luck. After losing her job, her car and her boyfriend in a single day she decides to say F.T.W., and after her mother denies her the use of her car, she hits the road with her crazy grandmother (Susan Sarandon), who is eager to engage in wacky adventures. Fueled by alcohol and sarcasm (and no small amount of sex and random happenstances) Tammy and her grandma repair a strained relationship and help each other realize that no matter what, family comes first. Whether it’s hooking up with random men in sleazy bars or committing armed robbery in fast-food joints to bail her out of jail, the hijinks are certainly there.
Written by McCarthy and director Ben Falcone, this movie is a cheap, sad attempt to cash in on the current wave of comedies such as Bridesmaids and pretty much anything Judd Apatow has done over the last decade. Crude comedies have their place, but sometimes they try too hard to shock the audience (usually to substitute for poor writing). It is the difference between Porky’s and Animal House. McCarthy is her usual charmingly befuddled self, but it is her usual charmingly befuddled self that we have seen in practically every movie she has ever been in (her turn in This is Forty notwithstanding). Side plots are thrown in seemingly at random, and the relationship between Tammy and her madcap, slutty grandmother is never fully explained. This movie would be best left on in the background at a party, or, preferably, not at all.
Given the star power involved in this picture, it is truly tragic how bad it turned out. It’s almost as if no one read the script beforehand and agreed to be in it simply because of McCarthy’s past success. Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole . . . the list goes on. And their performances are not lacking so much as they seem to be desperately trying to squeeze laughs out of a dried-up comedy sponge. To say this film is a comedy would be like saying The Learning Channel was still educational.
Not every movie can be a hit, and this one certainly is not. Melissa McCarthy is a fine actress with wonderful comedic timing and a real sense for where her talents lie. The fact that she has made it in Hollywood without looking like Megan Fox is a true testament to her abilities. Unfortunately, this movie does not showcase them. Hopefully her next one will be better, more thought-out and not slapped together in an attempt to give viewers a crappy alternative to big-budget explosions and transforming robots — which really must be the only reason this was released. Otherwise the future of comedy is in for a long haul. Much longer than this hour-and-a-half suck fest actually seemed.