Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review: Tammy

Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
Here's a movie filled with talented people that just doesn't click. The cast of "Tammy" includes Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Dan Ackroyd, Sandra Oh, Kathy Bates, Mark Duplass and Toni Collette. And yet the film, which for a comedy is pretty muted, feels as if it's missing something.

McCarthy plays yet another version of the boisterous, but loud mouthed, characters she played in "Bridesmaids" and, to lesser effect, "Identity Thief." In this picture, she has just been fired from the fast food chain at which she works after being late due to hitting a deer with her car. And her lout of a husband (Gary Cole) has taken up with their neighbor (Collette). What does all this add up to? Road trip!

Tammy and her grandmother (Sarandon) hop in the car with plans to see Niagara Falls. Along the way, they meet men at a bar (including Duplass as a potential love interest for McCarthy), drop in on a lesbian couple (Bates and Oh) that culminates with a viking funeral (don't ask) and get thrown in jail. All of this is presented in a way that is meant to be humorous, but while the film occasionally warrants a few smiles (and one or two genuine laughs), it's just not that funny.

Of course, the story - which includes some plot twists involving Sarandon's character's alcoholism and promiscuous past - is intended to act as a mother-grandmother bonding tale, although the two characters are mostly clashing right up until the obligatory happy ending.

McCarthy is pretty funny when given the right material, but her last few movies have sort of boxed her in as an obnoxious character when, in fact, she is fairly likable. And Sarandon is given little to do here than to act as a wild older woman - as if the thought alone of that is funny.

"Tammy" is pleasant enough and has a few moments here and there, but it's mostly a wasted opportunity to get more out of the abundance of talent onscreen. It's not a bad movie - and, quite frankly, not as irksome as some of the other Hollywood comedies inflicted on viewers this year - but it could have been a whole lot better.

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