Tammy and Louise.
Tammy (2014): 6 out of 10: Tammy Banks (Melissa McCarthy), a fast-food worker from Murphysboro, Illinois, has a very bad day: after hitting a deer and damaging her car, she arrives late for work at fast-food joint Topper Jack’s and is fired by her supervisor, Keith (McCarthy’s real-life husband and Tammy’s writer/director Ben Falcone). To make matters worse, her car breaks down, and she discovers her husband Greg (Nat Faxon) dining romantically with their neighbor, Missi (Toni Collette).
Seeking an escape, Tammy decides to leave town. She takes her grandmother Pearl’s Cadillac, but not before Pearl (Susan Sarandon) insists on joining her, armed with a stash of cash. Despite an initial reluctance, the duo hits the road. Along the way, they make a stop in a Louisville bar where Tammy connects with a chap named Bobby, while Pearl gets close with Bobby’s father, Earl.
However, their journey takes a tumultuous turn. After a series of mishaps, including Pearl’s arrest for buying alcohol for minors and possession of illegal prescription drugs, Tammy decides to rob a Topper Jack’s to bail out her grandmother.
Seeking refuge, the duo ends up at the home of Pearl’s wealthy cousin, Lenore (Kathy Bates), and her wife, Susanne (Sandra Oh). During a 4th of July party, tensions rise between the two when a drunk Pearl makes derogatory remarks about Tammy, leading to an emotional confrontation between them.
The Good: There is something sweet about the movie Tammy. It feels a little like a let’s get the kids in the neighborhood together and put on a show. Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone clearly have this as a pet project. And Mellisa in particular puts her all into portraying the titular character.
In addition they have a decent supporting cast with some stalwarts like Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates, some solid charter actors such as Allison Janney and Gary Cole. Heck even Dan Ackroyd is wheeled on for one scene.
Tammy also has some decent laughs. It is no Spy mind you but there are sensible chuckles. Tammy also avoids the snob vs slob cliches that such material often generates. One get the impression throughout the entire film that everyone is trying very hard to entertain you.
The Bad: Tammy really is no Spy. What made Spy work so well is that there was more than a couple of solid comic performances to center the film. (Rose Byrne and Jason Statham in particular carry large amounts of the film.). In Tammy everyone seems a straight guy opposite Melissa McCarthy. Even Susan Sarandon who seems ready to break out in outrageous behaviour at any moment never really never finds her comedic footing.
The stakes are low in Tammy and that is fine. But it seems to almost drift into a lower middle class comedy of manners than the outrageous slapstick that would be more appropriate for the material.
The Ugly: Melissa McCarthy really does her best to paint our titular heroine as a disgusting loser. Then the movie goes and gives her a heart of gold and a love interest. Why? Play with the strengths. The instinct to soften everyone’s edges in the film does make it more feel good. It also makes it distinctly less funny.
If we are supposed to take the character of Tammy at face value then she is simply a train wreck of her own making. There is little potential for growth for the character. The idea that she found a love interest on the road trip is bordering on science fiction. The feel goodish ending is not earned.
I understand the instinct to make a heartwarming story about someone who is ugly, disgusting, and stupid. I just don’t understand the appeal of watching such a film. Honestly I was having flashbacks of 2018’s Border during the romance scenes.
In Conclusion: I had a chuckle and Tammy is a lightweight and occasionally fun time. I am impressed by the passion of Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone for the project. I just cannot imagine myself watching the film again.