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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tammy Review: 85 Minutes We'll Never Get Back

The listless and uninspiring Tammy is one of the worst films of the year. Tammy is one of those films you can see coming a mile away, a trainwreck whose strong cast could have prevented but sadly occurs because its driver is too enamored with her own creation to notice the obvious faults.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) has had a really bad day: a deer hits her car, she loses her job, and finds her husband (Nat Faxon) screwing one of their friends (Toni Colletti). When she runs down the street to her mother (a way to young-looking Allison Janney), she makes contact with her senile grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon), who begs Tammy to take her on a roadtrip to Niagara Falls. Along the way, the two meet father-son duo Earl (Gary Cole) and Bobby (Mark Duplass), who are going through their own issues. Together with Pearl's friend Lenore (Kathy Bates), Tammy learns that most of her life's failures can no longer be attributed to other people, and that her future happiness is dependent entirely upon herself.

McCarthy has surrounded herself with top-name talent that's absolutely squandered. Colletti, Faxon, and Janney are just pencil sketches of real characters we've seen in better films this year, and Duplass is a little too boring for the wild McCarthy. We never really get to know them enough to decide if we like them, and their behavior almost seems like another animal in the road that Tammy is better off swerving to avoid. The exception here is Dan Aykroyd who's incredibly funny in his two scenes as Tammy's dad - his appearance is too short and probably should have been given cameo status. It honestly would have made Tammy a tad better, because the film has so little to offer. Part of that blame has to fall on Director/Writer/Actor and real-life husband Ben Falcone, who fails to push his cast enough to bring the pot of water to any temperature above tepid. His listless script breaks no new comedic ground: when a film delves into grandmother sex as a condition of comedy, all you can say is that Adam Sandler - and probably no one else - would be proud.

Sarandon is serviceable as Tammy's grandmother, but in terms of pure self-destruction, McCarthy is queen of that realm. Her 'hit the road and the road hit back' performance isn't funny in the least. This is a mix of every one of her better roles, filled with ad-lib that just doesn't cut it. For someone as clearly talented as McCarthy, I'm tired of seeing her in fat, self-denigrating roles in which other men somehow find those destructive parts of her personality to be attractive. From The Heat to Identity Thief, McCarthy, one would guess that she is being pigeonholed by a Hollywood that must think very low of her, until you consider that Tammy was written and produced by her. And the plot thickens. I'm going to stay away from making any further conclusions here, but you get my point.

For those of you who loved 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, go see them again rather than taking a chance on Tammy - your gamble will result in 1 hour and 25 minutes of your life lost. It's one of the worst movies of 2014, and a clear indication that McCarthy needs a career reset. Tammy is rated R for language and sexual situations.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.


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