Susan Sarandon and Melissa McCarthy star in scene from movie "Tammy".
MPAA Rating: R
USCCB Rating: A-III
Reel Rating: (2 Reels out of 5)
Although Melissa McCarthy's most creative work is starring as the sweet and gentle better half of Mike & Molly, the actress is better known as a foul-mouthed piece of work in films such as Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Identity Thief. In Tammy,
McCarthy plays a character who is at her lowest point after being fired
unjustly from her low wage, fast food job and discovering her husband
Greg (Nat Faxon) cheating in the same afternoon. In order to clear her
head, Tammy goes on a whirlwind road trip with her equally rambunctious
grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon).
Tammy contains some
really funny moments, especially involving Tammy and Pearl, but these
are just a few small morsels drowning in a lethal concoction of booze,
adultery, and a host of other bad behaviors. It’s an occasionally
amusing film but not a particularly memorable one.
Her life in
tatters, Tammy tries to borrow her mother’s (Allison Janney) car to go
“somewhere.” When she refuses, her grandma, already packed, supplies the
car and $6,700provided she gets to tag along. (I’m surprised Geena
Davis didn’t also tag along.) Along the way, the two women engage in
drunk driving, fighting minors, and bonding over broken stories of the
past until Tammy needs money to bail Pearl out of jail.
the movie’s funniest scene, Tammy attempts to rob from her former
employer. “Do you want to die?” Tammy growls at an elderly burger
flipper through a paper bag mask. “I’m a veteran,” he responds. Tammy is
taken aback: “Really? Well, thank you for your service.”
doesn’t get any tough love or sage advice until she meets Pearl’s
cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates). “You have to work hard,” she growls. “You
can’t just bitch and moan and expect life to give you things.” It’s the
kick in the pants she needs but no one has given her. She does have the
courage to admit her mistakes and move on.
The most troubling aspect of Tammy
is the casual treatment of sexuality, although “fun” drunk driving
without consequences is no better. Characters with redeeming qualities
are in short supply. Tammy rightly criticizes her husbands for
committing adultery, yet immediately hooks up with Bobby (Mark Duplass).
And how does she meet this Bobby? His father, also still married, is
having an affair with Pearl after she kicked Tammy out of their hotel
room for a one night stand. Probably the most stable couple is Lenore
(Kathy Bates) and her partner Susanne (Sandra Oh) who hosts a lesbian
Fourth of July celebration that includes the ceremonious burning of a
jet ski and Pearl flashing everyone while plastered.
and Sarandon pairing have moments of chemistry but it is hampered by how
they constantly berate each other. In a closing scene, Pearl gets
drunkagainafter promising Tammy not to and gives an obscenity-laced
monologue where she calls Tammy a “cheeseburger” and blames her for
Greg’s infidelity. It goes too far, and even though Pearl apologizes
when sober, it still stings. Their reconciliation isn’t well earned or
There is a funny little movie inside Tammy but it’s hidden in a grease-stained McDonalds’s bag. In The Heat,
McCarthy and Bullock shared much better chemistry because their
characters were more developed and funnier, and they began to genuinely
care for each other as the film unfolded. In Tammy, there are
only sad people behaving badly; the audience is supposed to like some
and hate others, but really we just end up being mostly indifferent to