Don’t look now, but Melissa McCarthy is getting close to joining the “What Happened To…?” Club. Sure, she’s largely responsible for the funniest movies of 2011 and 2013 (Bridesmaids and The Heat), but short of that, all we’ve gotten is a handful of minuscule supporting roles (This is 40, The Hangover Part III) and last year’s lousy Identity Thief. Her latest starrer is Tammy (which she also co-wrote and produced), and it’s safe to say this clunker won’t be going into her “win” column, either.
A mostly flat, rarely amusing movie about a road trip (because we need another of those?), Tammy tries so hard to find humor that it winds up squandering what might have actually worked.
McCarthy stars as the titular loser, who, in the course of a few short hours, loses her crappy car, her fast food job, her man, and her house. Her solution? Hit the road with her alcoholic, pill-popping grandmother (Susan Sarandon), but not before hurling ketchup packets at her boss and threatening to sue her husband (Nat Faxon) for making their neighbor (Toni Collette) a nice dinner. Honestly, I can’t figure out if Tammy is an idiot or an ass (or, more likely, both).
From there we get what I assume are supposed to be funny scenes: Tammy crashes a jet ski. Tammy sings an off-key Allman Brothers duet with her grandma. Tammy robs a fast food joint, making sure to steal some apple pies for good measure (because… ha?). And then it all culminates with a lesbian 4th of July party (because, we’re meant to believe, lesbians are inherently funny?) where the comedic highlight is a viking funeral for the busted jet ski.
Directed and co-written by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, Tammy is a mess from the much the word “go”. If you can somehow put aside the notion that the 67-year-old Sarandon is the mother of the 54-year-old Allison Janney, who is the mother of the 43-year-old McCarthy (if so, you’re better than me), you’re still left with a largely boring mess featuring people who seem to be there just for the paycheck… or the chance to work with McCarthy. If you had told me a week ago that she was starring in a movie with Sarandon, Janney, Faxon, Collette, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Gary Cole, Dan Aykroyd, and Mark Duplass, I would have predicted comedy gold.
But Tammy (heck, even the title is lazy) deserves little more than a porcelain flush.