After Bridesmaids, the world was introduced to one of the funniest women on the planet. She’s rude, crude, has no limits to what she’s willing to do, and she’s flat-out funny. Since Bridesmaids, she’s become one of the most recognizable actresses (especially in the comedy genre) out there and her work continues to make people laugh. We know she can act and that’s she’s hilarious, but she has decided to try her hand at writing now and partnered up with her husband this time around. The result? See for yourself…
Everybody has bad days, but other’s are just pretty awful. Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) was having one of those days, starting when she hit a deer and wrecked her car. This made her late for work and got her fired by her boss Keith (Ben Falcone). Things only got worse when she caught her husband (Nat Faxon) cheating on her with their neighbor (Toni Collette). So, Tammy decides that it’s time to get out of her little town and goes to her mom’s (Allison Janney) for a car. Somehow, she ends up with her Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) and the two head off into the unknown, looking for drunken adventure.
As all roadtrips must, theirs began with a lot of drinking and subsequent driving off into unknown directions. The two have a blast, never knowing where they were, and make their way down to Louisville for the next parade of partying. It’s there, that Pearl meets a wild old man named Earl (Gary Cole) and Tammy is left with his son Bobby (Mark Duplass). They find themselves seeing more of each other over the next few days, but things get complicated when the ladies’ antics require money that they don’t have. Along their way, they’ll meet up with Pearl’s cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates) and her wife Susanne (Sandra Oh) and that’s when their party really heats up!
Tammy is Melissa McCarthy’s latest raunchy comedy to hit theaters and this time around, she’s sort of going it alone. Also a first for her, her husband Ben Falcone is directing and she helped write the script with him as well. There’s fewer “F-words” than your average McCarthy film, but there’s no shortage of laugh-out-loud vulgarity and uncomfortable situations. This film is predominately a comedy, but it does try to venture into the realm of drama and that’s when things get a bit rocky. Nonetheless, McCarthy proves that she can entertain on her own and her name is more than enough to get people to the theaters.
The great thing about this film, is that there are no bad performances. McCarthy does McCarthy and excels with her outrageous verbal and physical humor. Sarandon gives it her all for a character so against type for her and she soars in this film. Gary Cole slides right on in with another drunken role that I loved and Mark Duplass is just a joy to watch. Sandra Oh doesn’t do too much, but that’s also because she’s overshadowed by a fantastic Kathy Bates. The acting is solid all around and this great ensemble really works well.
For all the comedy in this film, it does put quite a bit of emotional emphasis on the characters as well. Not everything has to be funny and the characters are clearly grounded in some reality. They all have their issues and things to deal with and there are some very genuine moments that resonate really well. There’s a story with heart underneath the veil of humor and it’s those moments that almost beat the laughter, because you do start to get invested in watching these characters fall and then flourish. It’s especially nice to see exploration from McCarthy, because her character deals with a lot and she handles it so well! No matter how tough you are on the outside, everyone is struggling and sometimes you lose it.
While I’m all for emotional scenes and tonal shifts, I’d appreciate them a lot more if they made sense. There were a few instances in this movie where the mood changed in an instant and characters became completely different people. What they did or said could make sense, were they given more depth, but it all comes out of nowhere and leaves you scratching your head. Of course, this film also has life lessons to guide you along the way and those also come at the most confusing times as well. The scenes aren’t bad on their own, but they just don’t fit well with the progression of the story and don’t seem as believable as they could be.
As good as the ensemble is, a lot of its characters are underused and underwritten. Nat Faxon and Toni Collette are just props for McCarthy to rag on and we learn absolutely nothing about them. Then there’s Mark Duplass, who’s a great guy and you’re really hoping to spend more time with him, but you don’t get that. Instead, Tammy makes poor decisions. I get that this is her movie, but with all the incredible talent and potential in the film, I was hoping for more. The writing needed a lot of polishing because the “smart jokes” weren’t all that great and as I just mentioned, there are quite a few underwritten characters. Maybe it’s just me, but if you’re going to have recognizable and great actors playing central roles in a film, you might want to pay some more attention to them.
It doesn’t always work, but Tammy is pretty funny and the laughs come from all over. Susan Sarandon really shines, as she gets to let loose and travel down a comedic path. The writing could have been touched-up a bit, but it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t take it. There were also some unnecessary and inexplicable dramatic moments that had no reason to be in this film and that kind of threw me off for a while. In the end, McCarthy has another good film on her belt and I’m sure she’s going to keep this up for years to come. It’s impossible not to be entertained by a woman of her talents.