Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tammy (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway


In what might have passed with some chuckles if other Melissa McCarthy features were not seen, "Tammy" co-written by the usually very funny McCarthy and directed by her husband Ben Falcone is choppy, derivative and just falls flat.

McCarthy is Tammy, a boisterous woman down on her luck. She just got canned from a fast food job and her hubby, the uninteresting Greg (Nat Faxon) cheats on her openly.

A slobbering Tammy wreaks havoc wherever she goes, knocking burgers over and throwing food. More than a few times, the running joke is that Tammy spills things: pepper shakers, bottles, and cutlery. She puts dandruff a pot of mayo.

None of it is funny, precisely because the theatrics are only due to  Tammy being obnoxious and overweight. Precious little of the humor is delivered through the character on an emotional level so all we get are the same old sight gags of McCarthy, bumping her belly about while yelling and cursing and it  all runs thin.

The genuinely silly sight of Tammy wearing a fast food sack on her head  (while it is, at first, fun) runs cold because the gag is overplayed twice.

Here is McCarthy's persona repeated once more: surly, bumbling and uncoordinated.

Ok. So. We get it. Again.

Tammy has had enough and she hits the road with her suburban grandmama (Susan Sarandon) who, in her heart of hearts wants to sow her wild oats, as older folks yearn to do in countless other comedies. Sarandon's character is so obvious and plainly delivered that it never seems convincing. She has gray hair and fat swollen ankles from diabetes, but these traits are played cheaply, rather than conveying any spirit or explanation, where true comedy originates.

Aside from some mildly ha-ha lines from McCarthy as she swaggers about thinking herself a femme fatale man eater, these are all situations from "The Heat", to "Identity Thief". McCarthy is very physical and does display some comedic staccato wordplay with timing but there is not enough of it.

The actors Allison Janney, Kathy Bates and Dan Aykroyd are here but they make mere bland cameos with little zest.

A Viking funeral for a jet-ski?


As grandma Pearl is on the road with Tammy slugging beer and knocking over cows, the noisy uniformity just becomes static.

This cartoon has little color, because no character is very fresh or originally played.

The slight poignancy between Tammy and Pearl as they travel together loses punch. All is done in broad strokes, glossed over with a sitcom patina.

The indie film creator Mark Duplass appears as Tammy's love interest but his role is also dull and ill-fitting as he tries to handle such ridiculousness ultra-straight.

Melissa McCarthy is a genuinely funny person, but she is not showing herself in a funny way with her incarnation of Tammy.

If you haven't seen any of her other films you may get a snicker or two, otherwise you will just shake your head and wonder why "Tammy" is just another loud and sloppy  character with scarcely little interest or verve.

write Ian at redtv_2005@yahoo.com

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