Melissa McCarthy‘s latest comedic effort Tammy is another one of those projects that sounded much better on paper, with the actual delivery being a mixed bag of jokes. Tammy is the type of film that Melissa McCarthy is known for, providing us with another obnoxious character that actually has a big heart, which is only discovered conveniently during the film’s final moments. The rest of the film borderlines on Tammy being a complete idiot. Director (and husband to McCarthy) Ben Falcone does a fine job highlighting his wife’s talent and eye for line delivery, but that doesn’t help the film from feeling like another cliched comedy road trip gone wrong that should have ended at the first stop for gas.
Tammy follows a loud-mouthed idiot named Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) as she road trips with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) across country for a little bit of fun and life discovery. Tammy isn’t your average woman, meaning that she’s got a bit of a temper and likes to party a bit more than the rest. She’s also annoying and idiotic, but also a kind lady with a heart buried deep down for no one else to see.
Director Ben Falcone approaches Tammy with non-judging eyes, mostly allowing the comedy to outweigh all of the wrong-doing that Tammy gets herself into. This works fine for a while, but stops once Melissa McCarthy fails to stick the landing, leaving Tammy feeling like another helpless fool that probably deserves the bad luck that she keeps getting herself into.
McCarthy has gone the way of Zach Galifianakis with this one. She’s sacrificed her comedic integrity for another role that pokes one too many jokes at her weight and general over-the-top silliness and not enough at her actual chops as a comedic actor. McCarthy was absolutely hilarious in last year’s The Heat and yet she keeps sucking down garbage roles in films like Tammy and Identity Thief. Watching those last two and then The Heat paints a clear picture that McCarthy can only work well with the proper writers and directors, otherwise she’s simply typecast.
Falcone’s direction doesn’t do her any favors at all, mostly highlighting the same features over and over, while occasionally delivering a joke that’s clever and actually earned. McCarthy is still a great talent that delivers again and again, but Tammy is proof that the actress can only go so far to make up for the lacking material.
And this hurts her own credibility, because McCarthy co-wrote the film with Falcone, which only proves that she’s okay with working in the same wheelhouse over and over, mining the same shallow jokes for quick and cheap laughs versus ones earned with an actual level of cleverness.
There are good moments to be found in Tammy though. For instance, McCarthy’s chemistry with co-star Susan Sarandon is top notch. The two work off of each other well and it’s not often that we get to see a mostly female-driven R-rated comedy that approaches the raunchy humor the exact same way that the men do it. Director Ben Falcone does a fine job keeping the jokes coming in a steady pace, rarely dulling the film down for a dose of sincerity.
That keeps Tammy feeling quick and painless, but also very dry and uninteresting. The film is funny, but never gut-busting or crying on the floor funny. It simply exists and is funny enough to induce a few short chuckles and maybe even a knee slap, but you’ll rarely remember a joke long enough to talk about it after. Most jokes fall as soon as the next one pops up, which keeps Tammy quick on its toes, but rarely memorable enough to revisit later down the road.
And that’s a problem, because Melissa McCarthy has proven herself again and again as one of the funniest ladies in Hollywood, yet she settles and actively enjoys roles that demand much less of her and focus on her quick humor and not so much her lasting appeal and that’s sometimes offensive as a viewer that defends her smarter humor while openly despising the rest. It becomes harder and harder to defend her when she’s making these choices willingly and probably for the bigger and longer-lasting paycheck.
Good for her I guess. Melissa McCarthy is a talented lady and if this is how she wants to channel her talents then so be it, but those looking for truly funny comedy will have to look elsewhere, because Tammy is just another quick dose of McCarthy in the loudest and simplistic way possible.
Tammy – 6.5/10