Film Review by Kam Williams
McCarthy & Sarandon Crisscross the Country in Raunchy Road Comedy
Melissa McCarthy was apparently able to write her own ticket after winning an Emmy for her TV sitcom Mike & Molly in 2011 and landing an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids in 2012. So, she used that leverage to greenlight a star vehicle where she would not only portray the title character, Tammy, but get to make her screenplay debut as well.
Keeping it all in the family, Melissa had the studio hire her husband, Ben Falcone, to direct and co-write the film, which might not have been a problem if it weren’t his first time attempting either of those tasks. The upshot is that their ill-advised collaboration has produced a raunchy road comedy with precious few laughs.
And in the process, the picture squandered the services of an impressive ensemble that included Academy Award-winners Susan Sarandon (for Dead Man Walking) and Kathy Bates (for Misery), Oscar-nominees Toni Collette (for The Sixth Sense) and Dan Aykroyd (for Driving Miss Daisy), and veteran thespians Allison Janney, Sandrah Oh and Gary Cole. Unfortunately, the talented cast was abandoned by a cringe-inducing script that proved more crass than funny.
As the film unfolds, we find Tammy having one of those days. First, she totals her Toyota Corolla on her way to a thankless job at afast-food restaurant when a deer darts in front of the auto. Then, she’s fired by her exasperated boss (Falcone) for arriving late for the umpteenth time. On her way out the door, she launches into an expletive-laced tirade during which she trashes the premises in front of the mortified staff and customers.
Upon arriving home earlier than usual, things go from bad to worse when Tammy catches her hubby (Nat Faxon) in the midst of making whoopee with their next-door neighbor (Toni Collette). Shocked and brokenhearted, she decides to take a break from her mess of a life, only to realize she can’t even afford to leave town without any cash or a car.
Her grandmother, Pearl (Sarandon), agrees to subsidize Tammy’s vacation as long as she can tag along for the ride, since her confining retirement community feels like a prison for old people. The two soon set out for Niagara Falls from their native Illinois, raising a ruckus at every port-of-call along the way, whether jet skiing, over-imbibing, trading insults (“Fat loser!” met with ”At least I didn’t sleep with my daughter’s husband!”), picking up strangers at bars and diners (“Anybody want to screw my grandma? Just buy her a drink!”), triggering pyrotechnic displays, landing in jail, or crashing an all-lesbian barbecue on the 4th of July.
If only some of their sophomoric antics were witty or amusing. A terminally-depraved escapade destined to disappoint even diehard Melissa McCarthy fans.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity and sexual references
Running time: 96 minutes
Distributor: Warner Brothers