dir Ben Falcone
scr Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone
prd Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
with Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Nat Faxon, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Ben Falcone, Sarah Baker
release US 2.Jul.14, UK 4.Jul.14
14/US Warner 1h36
Manhunters: Sarandon and McCarthy

duplass cole bates
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Tammy Despite an overflow of talent in their cast, filmmakers McCarthy and Falcone never quite figure out what they're trying to do with this movie. Shamelessly silly slapstick is swiftly followed by sentimental emotion. Yet while the plot is intriguing, the characters are cartoonish. And since it's never very funny, it seems like it would have been better as a wry drama.

After Tammy (McCarthy) is sacked from her job at a fast-food outlet, her day gets worse when he discovers her husband (Faxon) is having an affair with their neighbour (Collette). So she decides to run away. But her Grandma Pearl (Sarandon) insists on joining her, and encourages Tammy to keep going when she wants to give up and go home. Their escapades include a jet-ski incident, being picked up by a father and son (Cole and Duplass), robbing a burger joint and joining Pearl's cousin Lenore (Bates) for a wild 4th of July barbecue.

Tammy is McCarthy's standard chubby-idiot alter-ego, a woman who has never grown up, so her childish reactions are more annoying than amusing. The characters around her rolls their eyes at her misguided observations and laugh at her goofy antics, but nothing about her is remotely likeable. So the script contrives to make her sympathetic while slowly adjusting her appearance until she's visually attractive (essentially running a comb through her rat-nest hair and changing into a non-hideous shirt).

McCarthy has played this role so many times (see last year's The Heat and Identity Thief) that it's not much of a stretch. But she manages to make the character work in some smaller moments. No-nonsense costars like Sarandon, Bates, Janney and Aykroyd (as her parents) help add interest, while Duplass almost sells the deeply unconvincing romance. Tammy's interaction with all of these characters is more fun than any physical pratfall.

The main issue here is the tone, and while director Falcone (who plays Tammy's boss and is McCarthy's real-life husband) keeps the pace brisk he also lets the story lurch through so many moods that nothing quite sticks. The physical comedy doesn't elicit a single laugh, and the jokes make the more emotional scenes feel almost random. In other words, this crazy road trip might pass the time amiably but, like Tammy herself, there's not much going on behind the eyes.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 30.Jun.14

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© 2014 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall