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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Tammy | Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Gary Cole, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette, Mark Duplass | Review

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3 Chicks SmallJacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Tammy | Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Gary Cole, Dan Aykroyd, Toni Collette, Mark Duplass | Review

Debbie Reynolds she ain’t.  From the time we meet our rotund renegade, we know that this Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) has a crappy car, job, marriage, and hairstyle.  We know that she’s crass, childish, and somewhat delusional about her desirability with the opposite sex.

Escaping from her disastrous life after a particularly bad day that begins with hitting a deer with her ancient Toyota, getting fired, and finding out her husband is cheating on her with a neighbor (Toni Collette) Tammy embarks on a road trip with her booze-loving grandma (Susan Sarandon) and $6700, the same amount Sarandon’s character Louise’s nest egg in another road trip, Thelma and Louise.

The similarities don’t end there.  McCarthy co-directed and co-wrote the script, with husband/actor Ben Falcone, here playing her terminating boss, Keith, and the two weave whisky shots, honky tonk dancing, and botched robberies into the mix, along with other convenient contrivances like a wealthy, eccentric relative, always good for lavish, comedic possibilities, and male characters who will provide romantic interludes no matter how improbable.

Since the success of Bridesmaids, McCarthy has built a career on bad behavior, running amok with her larger-than-life persona (and physical proportions) incorporating foul language, bodily functions, and stick-your-tongue-out put downs and tantrums (lots of knocking things down when leaving a room because she can’t get her way).

McCarthy is good at being bad in a child-like way that is also lazy and lowbrow.  The actress is capable of warmth and depth, but settles for slapstick and gross behavior that most likely provides a release from societal expectations for the audience.  

THEY might never be able to get away with flaunting social conventions, but it’s fun to watch McCarthy’s character throw beer cans at cop cars and tell her boss off while licking and touching a rack of hamburgers, rendering them contaminated.  That’s the draw, all that anti-social indulgence, but it unfortunately limits the actress’s range.

Like a female Will Ferrell (who is one of the film’s producers) McCarthy limits her options of ever pulling off a dramatic role by being recognizable only as an immature, trash-talking misfit who is the last one to know how she’s being perceived.

A terrific supporting cast, including Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Gary Cole, Dan Aykroyd, and Mark Duplass lend a bit of acting integrity to the silly story, which does garner a few chuckles on its absurd journey.  The dialogue, full of asides, ad libs, and awkward pauses, sometimes falls flat and sometimes works in an ornery, in-your-face way.

Tammy, like most of McCarthy’s other characters, could use socialization skills and etiquette lessons.  The hard truth is that that would make her less popular (and profitable) with the average movie-goer and bottom-line studio executives.  And that says something about us.

 

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