Tammy Takes the Long, Long Road to Redemption
- Christa Banister Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 7 Jul
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: July 2, 2014
Rating: R (for language including sexual references)
Run Time: 96 minutes
Director: Ben Falcone
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Mark Duplass, Gary Cole, Nat Faxon, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, Ben Falcone
As she's proven in The Heat, Identity Thief, the closing credits of This is 40, and, of course, Bridesmaids, there isn't much that Melissa McCarthy won't do for a laugh. When McCarthy commits, she fully commits, even if the scene basically calls for total humiliation.
Now with Tammy, McCarthy has found a partner who’s also willing to go for broke in Susan Sarandon (Enchanted). While Sarandon is far too young to be playing McCarthy's grandmother (only 24 years separate them), she seems more than willing to keep up (even occasionally one-up) with her brassy granddaughter.
If McCarthy plays many more characters like Tammy, she's probably in serious danger of being typecast. But as a middle-aged woman who feels stuck in a small town with a bad job, a bad marriage and exactly zero prospects moving forward, McCarthy still manages to drum up sympathy while simultaneously causing the viewer to want to shake her. Repeatedly.
Yes, once again, McCarthy's Tammy is the sort of woman who finds herself in any number of precarious situations that could've been avoided with simple common sense. But then again, how much fun would that be?
When we first meet Tammy, she's pretty much having the worst day on record. While listening to her favorite song, the rather curious choice of The Outfield's "I Don't Want to Lose Your Love Tonight," she collides with a deer. After comforting the ailing animal, Tammy barely makes it to work in her messed-up ride, only to get fired from the depressing fast food joint. Naturally, she's upset when she gets home, which is exactly when Tammy discovers that her husband (Nat Faxon, The Way, Way Back) has been carrying on an affair with their neighbor (Toni Collette, The Way, Way Back). What’s even worse than the obvious betrayal to Tammy is that he made his mistress dinner, something she says he never did for her.
Packing up her belongings, which, of course, tumble out of the bulging suitcase to the dirty pavement, Tammy retreats to her Mom’s house just down the street. Hoping she can borrow her Mom’s car so she can ditch her sad-sack life for good, her mom (Allison Janney, The Way, Way Back) says no. But Tammy's grandmother, who also lives there, is more than game. She's got a car, a fat wad of cash and is more than ready for an adventure.
In the grand tradition of road trip movies, things never go exactly as planned, and all those hours of interstate driving in the Midwest lead to some pretty surprising revelations about Tammy's family history. McCarthy and Sarandon make a very funny pair as they inch closer to Niagara Falls, a place with personal significance for Sarandon's character.
As amusing as many of the duo's antics are - it's part therapy session, part total lunacy - Tammy is still a difficult movie to endorse. While there's a good message in taking responsibility for your own actions, rather than blaming others for a lousy lot in life, the road to redemption is very, very long and littered with crass behavior, a general lack of good taste and bad language that loses its punch from sheer overuse.
But if her previous box office success is any indication, McCarthy and her over-the-top humor are likely here to stay. One can only hope she's got a few more comedic tricks up her sleeve because after Tammy, the whole foul-mouthed, reckless and weirdly sexual female archetype is already well-covered territory.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Language/Profanity: The full range of expletives are utilized, mostly various forms of sh-- and f---. God’s name is taken in vain on multiple occasions and is frequently paired with da--.
- Sex/Nudity: Tammy's grandma Pearl sleeps with a random guy she meets at a bar (we later see them messing around in a car but nothing is actually shown). Pearl sleeps with the same guy at a hotel (nothing is shown). Pearl flashes her breasts at a 4th of July party (this happens offscreen). According to Pearl’s friend Lenore (Kathy Bates), the aforementioned party is a "lesbian 4th of July party," and we see several women embrace, dance, and occasionally, kiss. A couple of discussions of infidelity. A few crude jokes/comments about various sexual acts.
- Violence/Thematic Material: Tammy gets in a car accident when her vehicle is struck by a deer. Tammy gets behind the wheel while drinking, and she and Pearl wind up wedging their car between two trees in a forest. In perhaps, the most tame robbery ever, Tammy brandishes a fake weapon and robs a local fast food joint for bail money. Tammy also handles a watercraft pretty recklessly. Tammy is bitten by a raccoon.
- Drugs/Alcohol Use: Pearl is rarely shown without a drink and is very drunk in several scenes. She also gets busted for carrying OxyContin around. Tammy is shown drinking a beer while driving.
Publication date: July 2, 2014