Film Review – Tammy
I’ve been writing reviews here at The MacGuffin for nearly two years now and am endlessly honored to have a forum in which to share my opinions. Having the opportunity to express my adoration for the recent works of auteurs such as Michael Haneke and Spike Jonze is something I’m truly grateful for. On the other end of the spectrum, I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t also get a charge out of eviscerating claptrap that had no business being made in the first place (see Alex Cross — err, my review, not the movie..good god not the movie). Then something like Tammy falls into my lap and I find myself at a total loss. Not nearly smart or funny enough to recommend, yet ultimately harmless. How in the hell does one drum up 600 words on a comedy so uninspired that he’ll ultimately forget its existence in a month? I guess it’s worth a shot…
Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having one of those days. You know the kind. Hitting a deer on your way to a dead-end fast food job only to then be fired by your scuzzy boss upon arrival. At least you have a loving husband to come home to, right? Nope, shoot, he’s screwing your hot neighbor.
Shit hits the fan fast in Tammy, and we’re asked to immediately sympathize with a character whose only recognizable trait is brashness. Sure, her husband (a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Nat Faxon) is stepping out, but do we have enough of the facts to necessarily blame him? His mistress is played by Toni Collette who has, maybe, three lines in the movie (not that you’ll make them out over Tammy’s yelling). To give such an accomplished actress literally nothing to do but stand around looking pretty is one of many, many missteps that makes Tammy, even at a reasonably digestible 96 minutes, feel like such a slog.
If you’re like I was going into this thing, you’ll have next to no idea of the plot. That’s because for as many TV spots and trailers were released, Tammy doesn’t know what it is or how to showcase it. You’d be forgiven for assuming it involves a string of robberies considering it’s essentially all we’re shown in advertisements, but this actually makes up very little of the movie. Here it is in a nutshell (quit squawking, I’m saving you 11 bucks): Tammy’s life goes to hell in spectacular fashion. She tells her mother (a wasted Allison Janney) she needs to split town but doesn’t have a car or money to do so. Enter alcoholic granny (Susan Sarandon). Tammy reluctantly agrees to take grandma with her on this misguided soul search and we’re finally off to the races! It’s just too bad the emergency brake is on.
Tammy was co-written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone. It is his film debut and unfortunately stinks of amateurism. The tone shifts wildly from scene to scene (note a particularly cruel dressing-down late in the film’s run) and character motivations are often baffling. This is not to say the film is entirely devoid of humor and it should be noted the audience I saw it with enjoyed it a great deal. There are a number of fun cameos and Mark Duplass, unsurprisingly, turns in another charming performance. Melissa McCarthy is an undeniable force and will no doubt recover when the movie inevitably sputters out. In the meantime, there’s always your worn out copy of Bridesmaids.
580 words. Close enough.