Tammy (2014)

Melissa McCarthy stole the show in Bridesmaids as Megan Price; the bolshy, loud-mouthed sister-in-law who wasn’t averse to getting down and dirty. There hasn’t been an event since that we haven’t recommended could be improved with a Fight Club. That’s why it always hurts when another Melissa McCarthy vehicle comes out and the material doesn’t do her justice. Last year’s Identity Thief was a painfully unfunny comedy that tried to fill in the cracks with sickly sweet pathos. It would be nice to say that Tammy manages to steer clear of oversentimentality and focus on quickfire gags. However, it would also be nice to say that Tammy is enjoyable film.

Despite what you may have seen in the trailers, Tammy is not a film about a woman on the run after robbing a fast food restaurant. Though they sure as hell wanted you to think that. Instead, the titular Tammy (McCarthy) ends up losing her job, discovering her husband is cheating on her and being beaten up by a deer all in one day. Tired of the shitty hand life has dealt, she decides to leave town for a bit and discover herself. Her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon) lends her her car on the proviso that she can tag along. What follows next is a road movie so banal, it’s physically hurts to see so many decent actors being used so poorly. Toni Collette, Sandra Oh and Kathy Bates all make appearances and add very little to the story. The faults of Identity Theif appear not to have been learnt and serious issues about granny’s drinking problems sit uncomfortably next to scenes of Tammy falling over. Repeatedly.

And that’s the other issue, there’s an confusing meanness to Tammy that invites us to laugh at her rather sad existence, then wag its finger at us for joining in. Before finally admitting, that yes, she is a bit rubbish and needs to pull her finger out. Meanwhile, the alcoholism storyline drifts off on the nearest breeze.

It would be nice to lay the fault of the whole film at anyone at McCarthy. However, seeing as she co-wrote and produced it as well as taking on a starring role, means our sites are firmly set on her. We’re sorry Melissa. We think you’re better than this.


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