Entertainment Movie Reviews

Sunday 17 December 2017

Review: Tammy (15A) - 'a waste of a fine cast and a waste of everyone's time'

Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy in Tammy
Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy in Tammy

George Byrne

Comedy/drama. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Dan Aykcroyd


OH DEAR - what to do about Melissa McCarthy?  With an Oscar nomination for Bridesmaids and two subsequent hits with the awful Identity Thief and the marginally less dreadful The Heat - plus a cameo in the abysmal third part of The Hangover - she's established herself as a genuine comedic presence to Hollywood.  The only problem is that she's found herself utterly typecast.

McCarthy's roles to date have been confined to those of a large lass possession no social skills and prone to potty-mouthed outbursts.  So, what can we expect from her first leading role?  Well, she plays a large lass possessing no social skills and prone to potty-mouthed outbursts.  Oh dear.

McCarthy has no one else to blame for such lazy typecasting, considering she's an executive producer of Tammy and co-wrote it with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directs this dire excuse for a comedy.  The opening scene sets the tone as we see the titular character driving in a beat-up car, listening to 80s rock and stuffing her face with crisps.  Suddenly she hits a deer, is late for her job in a fast-food outlet, gets fired by her boss and throws a most unfunny tantrum in front of the customers.  To compound matters, she then discovers her husband (Nat Faxton) is having an affair with a neighbour (Toni Collette), whereupon she goes home to her mother (Allison Janney) and embarks on a road trip with her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon).  Good God, Susan Sarandon is playing the sexy granny role now?

There could be some weird riff on Thelma & Louise going on, but it's lost amid lame pratfalls and a tone that veers close to mawkish at times.  You get the feeling this began as a much more serious film until the studio suits suggested that audiences really just want to see the large lass falling over and swearing at people, with the result that some slapstick scenes feel like they've been stitched in during re-shoots.  There are some odd diversions - a trip to a "lesbian Fourth of July party" hosted by Kathy Bates - but the balance between mush and messing about is never properly established.  Tammy is a waste of a fine cast and a waste of everyone's time.


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