Director: Ben Falcone
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass
Written by: Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone
Running Time: 96 mins
Release date: 4th July 2014
Melissa McCarthy is a funny lady. We know this as she stole Bridesmaids from everyone, a hard thing to when you recognise the talent involved. She wasn’t terrible in The Heat, last year’s cop comedy with Sandra Bullock. So this ego project (she co-wrote, produced and starred while husband, Ben Falcone, directed) which sees her taking full lead should have been a whole lot funnier. It’s not. In fact there are very few laughs at all and the only thing that keeps it from sinking completely is the cast that she has surrounded herself with.
Tammy’s life is a mess. She loses her job at a burger bar and she’s caught her husband having a meal with her neighbour, all in one day. So she decides to take off and leave her life behind but she hasn’t got a car (it is wrecked after hitting a reindeer) she has to take her grandmother’s vehicle, with grandmother on tow. The pair hit the road and go on a trip across America, getting into all kinds of scrapes and trying to find themselves.
While its slightly refreshing to have a comedy coming out of Hollywood that isn’t about male slackers who leer over woman, Tammy doesn’t work because we’ve been here before. We’ve had the road trip in which two completely unconnected people, although related, are forced to journey across the States. Take The Guilt Trip with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogan. So we get nothing from the Grand-daughter/grandmother pairing, apart from the grandmother is an alcoholic who thinks she’s 30 years younger.
Tammy, however, is just like every other part that McCarthy has played since Bridesmaids. loud, obnoxious, sweaty and generally a mess. She’s the kind of character who, if she came on a bus and you had an empty seat next to you, you’d find a way to stop her from sitting next to you. She the crazy woman who talks to herself, does weird dance routines in the street and who most people would go out of their way to avoid. Yet she did it in Identity Thief and The Heat, so you don’t so much like her, more pity her.
She also has a voice that really grates after a while. Kept at a level of loud and then when she gets really anxious, louder still, it’s like watching Steve Martin in The Jerk, who thought that being funny was to shout all the way through the film (luckily for him, it worked). Yet McCarthy’s delivery of lines just hurts the ears and her body shape, while fine for some of the slapstick, is used too much, as if we have to laugh at the large lady being silly.
The film trundles along going from one set up to the next, so we have Tammy on a jet ski, Grandma meeting a man in a bar and, well, you can guess the rest, Tammy trying to raise money so robbing a burger bar. The scenes are almost telegraphed to you way in advance, as if you have to prepare for the worse. Yet the gags aren’t strong enough. There are the odd moment when a line catches you off guard and you find yourself sniggering but for a 95 minute comedy, I want to be laughing throughout, not just sniggering at one or two lines.
The cast are valiant in their efforts to raise a smile. Susan Sarandon, as the drunk grandmother, seems to be having fun playing against type and wanting to relive her Thelma And Louise days. Allison Janney is completely wasted as Tammy’s mother, while Kathy Bates brings some well needed class to the proceedings as Sarandon’s lesbian cousin.
It would have been nice to have come away saying that McCrthy is the new Queen of comedy but if she keeps producing films like this and repeating the same characters over and over again, it wouldn’t surprise me that she will be more compared as the female Adam Sandler. Maybe it’s time for her not to carry a film but to return to being a supporting artist, where she can steal the show without getting blamed for carrying it. I think it would suit her much better.