A titan of industry is sent to prison after she's caught insider trading. When she emerges ready to rebrand herself as America's latest sweetheart, not everyone she screwed over is so quick to forgive and forget.
Tammy, who was recently fired from a Topper Jack's fast food restaurant, returns home only to find her husband enjoying a romantic meal with the neighbor. She quickly packs her necessities, and travels down three houses to her parent's home. Upon denied use of her mom's car to drive to Niagara Falls, she quickly resorts to an "ailing" grandmother, who also lives in the home...Only instead of traveling alone, Grandma Pearl wants in on the road trip. After realizing Grandma Pearl has the funds, they hit the road. Pearl soon proves to be quite the alcoholic despite her diabetes, and Tammy quickly turns into the "baby-sitter." From finding love in a bar to robbing a Topper Jack's in order to bail Pearl out of jail,the quirky adventure will have you finding yourself riding along for the misadventures of Tammy. Written by
McCarthy and Falcone shoot blank after blank from their comedic firearm
Comedian Aisha Tyler once stated that comedians should take the first punch during their stand-up/hosting/entertaining performances. Making fun of oneself is more amicable and less controversial than reviling any group of people right off the bat. In my life today, someone cited Melissa McCarthy as a comedian. I originally concurred with the classification, but the more thought I infused into that labeling, the more I dissent it. McCarthy is not Tina Fey, Ellen Degeneres, or Amy Poehler; she began as an actress and continues her career as one. The "comedian" excuse does not apply.
In "Tammy", McCarthy does not only censure herself for the initial stages of the film, but tries to fly the entire film on string of self embarrassment. The saddest thought from my viewing of this film: McCarthy is not only selecting roles like Tammy, but she's creating them for herself. (McCarthy co-wrote the film's screenplay and is directly responsible for the material she has to act out.)
McCarthy and Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon are faced with the most screen time in "Tammy" and each contribute more as actors than the script does as a narrative. McCarthy's hysterically brazen screen presence is the film's true source of humor, but I can't help but wonder if McCarthy would be open to revisiting authentic characters like she used to portray in "Gilmore Girls", which would replace her gimmicky, stereotypical roles like Tammy. Susan Sarandon, a goddess of her generation, keeps putting herself out there in whatever script she can get her hands on and we still pity her. As Tammy's grandmother, she at least straps on her acting gear and succeeds with a few lovely moments, but frankly her talent is not justified nor is it utilized properly.
For a project of such a low caliber, "Tammy" attracted a surplus of remarkably talented actors for brief, unflattering roles. The roster includes Gary Cole, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Kathy Bates and Allison Janney (who took time out of her career best year on television shows "Girls" and "Masters of Sex" to make time for an extended cameo in "Tammy"). Maybe McCarthy charmed these award winners with friendship to convince them "Tammy" was a worthwhile project. At any rate, it looks like they all had fun.
At best, "Tammy" is a cute flick to see with silly friends looking to laugh at things that probably would not be as funny if everyone accessorized their theater-going wardrobe with their thinking caps. McCarthy owns her figure and the expected judgment, but what makes "Tammy" funny is the facial expressions and enunciation McCarthy uses when reciting witless lines of dialogue. Especially in the film's first act, "Tammy" did acquire some laughter on my behalf. (Now whether I was laughing with it or at it is another story...)
At worst, the film is nothing more than an hour and a half of McCarthy making an a$s out of herself. Unclear and unrealistic characterization, expedient character growth for the leading goon, erratic moments of failed poignancy, and poor writing that almost feels like comedic improvising are some of the many wretched qualities present in the film. McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, the co-writer and director of "Tammy" shoot blank after blank from their comedic firearm.
* / * * * *
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