The bar of expectation for this Melissa McCarthy’s new film Tammy was pretty low. After two grueling hours in a stuffy theater, the bar was lowered right into the sewer pipes. I would love to fill up some of the space on this post to describe the plot of the movie. Except there is none. All I have are assumptions. I can think of it so much before my brain begins to explode. Lewis Blacks’ classic bit comes to mind (“If it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college”), except I was suffering miserably in a theater room punctuated by occasional (sometimes mean-spirited) laugh. According to IMDB and press interviews, this whole movie adventure is because Tammy (by Melissa McCarthy) was having a “bad day” and that it’s a love letter to the Midwest; I call major bullsh*t.
For a person to have a “bad day”, it would require that events happened for reasons that are usually not in our control. Like waiting for a train to cross and then see smoke coming out of the front of the car. Or having a clothing malfunction on new clothes seconds before a meeting.
Tammy deserved every single horrible thing done to her. Everything about her personality mediated the initial events and throughout the movie. She doesn’t pay attention on the road as she’s reaching for lip balm: careless. She is not very intelligent and shows this when she muttered about giving mouth to mouth on an awake buck or blatantly not knowing who Neil Armstrong was. She shows up to work with un-thrifty hair and soiled uniform. It is gleaned from the sweaty manager, that she has a record of being tardy to work, so she is fired. As she leaves the building she smears her saliva on buns and rants loudly that the meat is not meat; obnoxious and unnecessary. She leaves her husband for cheating on her only to admit later in the movie that she had also cheated on him: hypocrite. She behaves reprehensibly towards her mother and grandmother.
Tammy comes off as a whiny, annoying, obnoxious over grown child. Was this the point of the movie? Well, congrats on making me hate the main character with every fiber of my soul.
Tammy leaves town along with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). On a loose whim, they decide to head for Niagara falls. Along the way, they drink excessively (especially the grandmother). They meet a father (Gary Cole) and his son (Mark Duplass). The grandmother is hot and heavy for the father as Tammy has googly eyes for the son. The pairings for the grandmother/daughter team disturbed me greatly. If the father and grandmother sexy moments were out of the picture, then I would have found the romance between Tammy and Bobby to be sweet. Duplass was adorable.
If this movie had a plot, then it would be assumed that Tammy goes through a self-journey for the better. Even the grandmother should have been doing through a self-journey. Nope. Tammy goes off to jail and grandmother goes off to a nursing home. They reunite after and find that both improved. All of the turmoil and growth happened off screen. So, I’m not supposed to appreciate the characters struggles.
What was I suppose to appreciate? Tammy and her grandmother are the type of people I deplore; they are rude, obnoxious, reckless, and blame everyone else for their troubles. There were no moments where I rooted for them, understood the reasons behind their actions, or even cared.
The jokes fell flat for me. Some people in the room found this funny. Kudos to them; I’m glad someone enjoyed themselves. As for me, the people directly in front of me, behind me, to the side, and people few rows over, I heard silence punctuated only by sighs. There were three, count that, THREE genuinely funny moments.
No matter my miserable and frustrated experience of the movie, I still wanted this movie to do well. Melissa McCarthy has already established that not only can women be funny but a plus size comedian can be a household name. She rose to fame in Bridesmaid as part of a comedic ensemble. Along with Sandra Bullock, McCarthy was one half of a comedic pair in The Heat. I applaud her professional success as being one of few women who could market a movie based on her name alone. If this movie is successful, then McCarthy would pioneer the pathway for female comedians.