Tammy, starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates, is surprisingly good, despite its contrived plot. The film is classed as a comedy and it is funny, but it is also quite touching. For this reason alone perhaps a label of “dramedy” would be a better fit.
Certainly the screening audience found the film amusing. Laughter was apparent in all the right places as well as the obligatory sighs when things were sad, otherwise known as an “aw” moment. There were quite a number of these moments although not enough to take away from the laugh out loud reactions in the cinema.
Award winning actress Melissa McCarthy co-wrote the film with director Ben Falcone. For those not in the know, Falcone and McCarthy are husband and wife, with two children. Apparently Tammy is a labor of love from this happy couple.
The story follows McCarthy’s character who is having a real “falling down” type of day. While driving to work she hits a deer which almost renders her car undrivable. Tammy gets out and attempts to resuscitate the animal, cue comic moment. After finally arriving to her place of employment looking like she’s had a car accident, her boss fires her, cue another comic moment.
Her deer damaged vehicle dies on her drive home and she walks the rest of the way. Once she arrives Tammy discovers her husband wining and dining their next door neighbor Missi, played by Toni Collette. It was lovely to see the talented Ms. Collette who made such a great mother in Little Miss Sunshine and she doesn’t appear to have aged a day since that 2006 film.
Tammy grabs a few things and runs away to her mother’s house, which is just a short way down the same road. When her mother refuses to loan her car to Tammy, she decides to take grandma Pearl’s vehicle. Pearl says the car does not leave the address unless she comes along. Once she shows Tammy that she has a large amount of cash, the hapless woman agrees that grandma can join her.
What follows is an “odd couple” road movie. A sort of “Thelma and Lose-ese.” Of course Sarandon is an old hand at female buddy “road pictures” and she does not disappoint in Tammy despite its contrived plot. McCarthy and company are surprisingly good although Sandra Oh has very little to do as Kathy Bates’ partner. Dan Aykroyd has even less to do in what can be classed as one of the smallest cameos in a film this year.
Fans of Melissa McCarthy will enjoy this film. First time director Ben Falcone does a adequate job with his wife’s comedic turn. One impressive thing about the 43 year-old actress and her performance in Tammy is her ability to do subtle. The world already knows that Melissa can do broad comedy, but this film shows that she can do comedy less obvious. Her range in the movie is impressive and not just in things comedic, but her subtle emotions when things go wrong are spot-on.
Tammy is surprisingly good, despite the contrived plot and Melissa McCarthy having to take the backseat in most of her scenes with veteran actress Susan Sarandon. This “dramedy” hits not only the funny bone but also touches the heart and it does this brilliantly. There is a scene towards the end of the film that had the audience tearing up only to scream laughter in the next second. This is a film to watch for those who love to laugh and love Melissa McCarthy, it opens on July 2 in cinemas across the country.
By Michael Smith
AMC Town Square 18