Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tammy Movie Review

Susan Sarandon & Melissa McCarthy (r) star in Tammy

Let's Light This Candle

Tame. I can't think of a better more appropriate word to describe Melissa McCarthy's comedy Tammy. Instead of building on the success of last summer's The Heat, Tammy travels in a totally opposite (and substantially safer) direction... promising Thelma & Louise, but delivering only a handful of laughs on its way to mediocrity.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: 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 shotgun, it may be just what Tammy needs.

What’s Best: McCarthy continues to tease us with what could be... but truth be told, she needs to align herself with a better writer/director combo than she and her husband (Ben Falcone.) That said, I still find her adorable... especially when she's on the offensive. Naughty McCarthy = Good. Nice McCarthy = Not so much. Her fight with a Topper Jack's supervisor before getting fired is priceless, 'That shit's medical' referring to her boss's sweating. Even better, her "full court press" upon possible love interest Tygan (Mark Duplass.) At one point, Tygan excuses himself to go use the bathroom, to which Tammy replies, 'I'm going to pick up that hint he just dropped.' Isn't it great to always see the glass half full?

Kudos to Sarandon, who may not look the part (she hardly resembles her real age, yet alone old enough to be Tammy's grandma) but manages to deliver each and every line with the gusto of an Oscar winner. What a coincidence: She is one. Come to think of it... I'd love to see an entire movie built around Pearl and her cousin Lenore (fellow Oscar winner Kathy Bates.) Perhaps with Tammy as Pearl (or Lenore's) daughter? Cough twice, if you agree.

What’s Not: Sarandon, 67 is a mere 13 years older than Allison Janney, who in turn is only 11 years the senior of McCarthy; yet we're supposed to believe that they represent three generations? Only in the movies, I suppose. Meanwhile Tammy is hindered by numerous shortcomings... most notably, the underuse of talented stars like Janney and Toni Collette, both of whom are saddled with almost invisible parts. Is this what happens to Golden Globe winners? Especially in a refreshingly female-driven feature film? I'm not sure what's worse... Missed opportunities or the woeful decision to ditch raunchy for so-called "family fun." Tammy is a movie that dies off-screen, rather than on it.

Best Line: I'm partial to the aforementioned sweating joke; but I could just as easily live with Tammy's 'You are too old, to be this strong,' while getting overpowered by Grandma Pearl in a motel room face-off. It sure isn't Tammy's 'I'm like a Chee-to. You can't eat just one.' Ugh, talk about lazy.

Overall: It's hard to hide the disappointment of what coulda, shoulda been. Tammy had the potential to be a big Fourth of July hit; but if you want to beat the likes of Transformers: Age of Extinction, you need Bridesmaids McCarthy... not the kind of gal, who puts her tail between her legs after walking in on her husband and next-door neighbor having a romantic dinner in her dining room. I wonder what Megan would have done/said. Too bad we'll never know.