It’s been a while since the Melissa McCarthy ship set sail. This short comedic force that was once known for an impressive spectrum of cusses paired and brutal nature has been reduced to a trashy, angry parody whose talent lies in saying the worst possible thing at any given time.
With The Heat, Identity Thief and This Is 40 dragging out McCarthy’s act, Tammy already seemed like a stretch too far, with early footage showing its star in her typically defiant state, using her mouth and stature to bring in the laughs.
The marketing of the film however appears to be much different from the film itself, which features but moments of McCarthy fully loaded, and instead draws on the relationship between Tammy and her grandmother, a dubiously disguised Susan Sarandon.
After a quick fire series of mishaps which includes Tammy losing her job and her husband, granddaughter and grandmother take to road with booze and cash in a desperate attempt to forget their woes, with a vague mention of Niagara Falls as their final destination.
Disaster ensues, with the pair drinking heavily, arguing and winding up in prison. It’s a stop start process with doting affection clashing with hateful rows. Such is the lack of continuity that the tone fractures; such is the brittle relationship between Sarandon and McCarthy that tender moments evaporate within seconds.
Sarandon gives her performance her all, cracking cans of beer open with abandon, flashing crowds and violently kissing strangers. For a woman barely old enough to fall into grandparent territory however the credibility of her part is low. Dress her in dowdy clothes, dye her hair all you like, Tammy asking this woman “what are you, like 100?” has no validity, as the answer is clearly “no.”
The supporting cast are also misused. Bit parts from Allison Janney, Toni Collete and Kathy Bates are fleeting and unfavourable, and Mark Duplass as the love interest appears to do nothing but laugh at Tammy’s brash demeanour and try and convince audiences that this is a character to root for.
Written and produced by McCarthy and directed by husband Ben Falcone, it’s clear that good intentions were meant with the creation of a lost woman and her even more lost grandmother. With a meandering tone, mediocre script and lead characters that don’t carry the film, this is regretfully a miss on both a comedy and a heartfelt family film.