SYNOPSIS: Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having a bad day. She’s totaled her clunker car, gotten fired from her thankless job at a greasy burger joint and, instead of finding comfort at home, finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house. It’s time to take her boom box and book it. The bad news is she’s broke and without wheels. The worse news is her grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), is her only option—with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls. Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind. But on the road, with grandma riding shot gun, it may be just what Tammy needs.
REVIEW: Co-written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone (who also directs and stars in the film), “Tammy” is a road trip flick which follows right along the lines of 2013’s “Identity Thief” and “The Heat;” The same type of McCarthy comedy that doesn’t skip a beat. The flick begins like every other recent Melissa McCarthy film (with the spotlight shining brightly on her), but this time co-starring none other than the queen of road trip flicks, Susan Sarandon (Thelma & Louise, 1991).
That being said, “Thelma & Louise,” it is not. Although, there’s a fair amount of debauchery and criminal activity on this road trip, it all has a playful, heartwarming sentimentality to it. It is one of those rare films where not much happens plot-wise, but is actually better for it. The entertainment value comes from watching these two talented women basically perform a series of small, poignant sketches with one another. While both McCarthy’s and Sarandon’s characters might not be the most unique or original ones to ever grace a movie screen, they are perfected versions of well-traveled archetypes. As such, they have a genuine chemistry with one another that gives the pairing of Sarandon and Geena Davis a run for its money. Sarandon brings an unexpected amount of humor to the role, while McCarthy continues to shock with her dramatic range.
A supremely talented supporting cast all making memorable appearances include the likes of comedy legend Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters movies), though his role was much too slight, impractical and pointless. However, sixty-six year old screen legend Kathy Bates (best known for her multi-award winning role in Misery ) appears as Tammy’s rich, charismatic and comparatively agile lesbian great-aunt Lenore whose character is probably the most sensible addition to the storyline, if any.
Clearly at some point there was a thought behind this flick of bravely making it both female-centric and fat-friendly; however, part of the problem is that it’s simply inept as film-making goes. The script seems quite flat, the timing is a bit off and there is certainly no back-story. Nevertheless, given the big names involved (with Will Ferrell being a producer) and McCarthy’s undoubted gifts as a comedian, it ends up feeling like a more significant flick than it actually is.
Having said all of this, I think audiences that are expecting a hilarious, slapstick comedy might be slightly disappointed though “Tammy” has a surprising amount of heart to it. It is probably not worth the theater visit, but would serve better as a pay-per-view or DVD rental. Three stars out of five is a generous rating here
By Movi-Man Stan
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