The road-trip film is an age-old tradition in Hollywood. A couple of oddball characters hit the road to get swept up in whatever wackiness may ensue. As in all sub-genres, some are better than others. While they can’t all wind up being National Lampoon’s Vacation or Tommy Boy, Melissa McCarthy has decided to take a huge group of reliable actors along for her shenanigans in Tammy.
But don’t walk in expecting McCarthy to be in lovable Bridesmaids/The Heat mode here — she’s never even as funny as she has been when hosting Saturday Night Live. Co-writing with her husband/director Ben Falcone, she can barely keep the 96-minute film moving, with Falcone making a complete disaster of his directorial debut.
Tammy (McCarthy) is having a really bad day. She hits a deer on her way to work, gets fired by her a-hole boss Keith (Falcone), and comes home to find out her husband Greg (Nat Faxon) has been cheating on her with their neighbor Missi (Toni Collette). She tells Greg she’s leaving him and walks next door to her mom’s (Allison Janney) house.
Tammy decides to leave town in her grandma Pearl’s (Susan Sarandon) car, but Pearl insists on tagging along. Now, the two head out for Niagara Falls — in the wrong direction — with cash and booze in hand, where all the expected mishaps and bumps along the way are dragged in tow.
Now, just take a minute and read some of rest of the cast members’ names: Kathy Bates, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole, Sandra Oh. With so many great names it’s a sure-fire cast, right? Instead, every single actor is wasted with absolutely nothing to do. And while I don’t expect a lot of rationale in my comedies, every film should have its own kind of logic. But as Tammy plods along, it loses all common sense — and steam — with each scene. For anyone missing the days of SNL characters getting their own feature-length films — Night at the Roxbury, Superstar, The Ladies’ Man, It’s Pat, Stuart Saves His Family — Tammy is for you. The Blues Brothers or Tommy Boy this is not. Not even McCarthy’s biggest fans will find much to laugh at here.
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