Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Tammy’ Review: Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon & Kathy Bates

Melissa McCarthy has been front and center among Hollywood comedians since her breakout role in 2011’s Bridesmaids. Bridesmaids made its mark in cinema as one of the best female led comedies of all time and McCarthy earned an Academy Award nomination for her performance as the fun, sassy, but brutally honest bridesmaid Megan.

Ever since, McCarthy has earned small roles in 2012’s This is 40 and 2013’s The Hangover Part III, and starring roles in 2013’s Identity Thief, a painfully awful “comedy” and later that year was opposite Sandra Bullock in The Heat, a screenplay that also wasn’t fantastic, but more up to par with McCarthy’s talents. Now as the title character Tammy, McCarthy is perfect in the role (obviously she co-wrote it!), if only her screenplay wasn’t so formulaic and predictable.

The film opens and we meet Tammy (Melissa McCarthy), who is driving to work in her clunker car as she sings along to her boom box sitting in the passenger seat. Unfortunately for Tammy, this is the happiest she will be all day because not a minute later she hits a deer totaling her car and leaving her nose bloody. Still determined to get to her job at fast food restaurant Topper Jack’s, Tammy drives her beat up car to work only to get fired by her boss (Ben Falcone). When Tammy arrives home, she discovers that her husband (Nat Faxon) is cheating on her with the neighbor (Toni Collette). Heartbroken from a terrible day, Tammy packs some clothes and walks two doors down to her mother’s (Allison Janey) house to vent.


Desperate to get out of town, Tammy asks to borrow her mother’s car and when that plan doesn’t work, her grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) offers to let Tammy borrow her Cadillac only if she can go on the drive with her. Though the two haven’t particularly gotten along since Tammy was a little girl, Tammy is willing to do anything to leave town and start again.

Tammy and Pearl embark on a road trip packed full of drinking booze, picking up men (Gary Cole and Mark Duplass), robbing a Topper Jack’s and meeting up with Pearl’s lesbian cousin (Kathy Bates) and her partner (Sandra Oh) for a Fourth of July party. Nothing will be the same for these two women when their trip if over.

This is Melissa McCarthy’s best role since Bridesmaids and you can tell that she loves this character. She knows Tammy inside and out and the joy of watching her play the role she wrote is obvious. The scene where Tammy robs the Topper Jack’s is one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen this year. Slow motion paired with a rap song gets me every time!

tammy movie 2

In his directorial debut, Ben Falcone (also McCarthy’s real-life husband), who also co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, definitely has what it takes to direct a comedy, but their screenplay was too formulaic for my taste. The character they created deserved a better screenplay overall. Sure, there are some funny parts and McCarthy and Sarandon had good chemistry, but I wanted Tammy to be given more than the predictable plot points throughout the film.

Some of the supporting actors were criminally underused including Allison Janey, Sandra Oh and Dan Aykroyd, who plays Tammy’s father, leaving it all up to McCarthy to push the story forward. She does, but not without some slower moments here and there, but especially at the beginning.

McCarthy is wonderful as our lead character and although the film has some sweet moments, McCarthy and Falcone’s screenplay could’ve been better. Here’s to Tammy 2??

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