Commentary
5:00 am
Thu July 10, 2014

'Tammy' Shows New Side of McCarthy

Credit rottentomatoes.com

Melissa McCarthy has many reasons to be happy with her new movie Tammy.

She produced, co-wrote and stars, and her husband co-wrote, directed and takes an important small role as the boss who fires her and starts the whole thing going. McCarthy is also more attractive both in her physical appearance and in the character she plays than she was in either Bridesmaids or The Heat, partly because Tammy is a gentle, people-loving movie without satiric edge or the brutality of a police story.

And McCarthy is generous to her cast, leaving a lot of the comedy to Susan Sarandon as the lively but alcoholic grandmother, and giving the most serious straight commentary to Kathy Bates as the most settled character in the cast, a lesbian who lives with lover Sandra Oh and has the only widespread social group in the movie, partygoers who behave like any large group who enjoy each other's company.

McCarthy keeps the few really sentimental bits for herself, but they are bits, not big scenes, and she handles them so well that they suggest that McCarthy could handle a more serious effort if she wants to, as I hope she will.

Others in the cast include Toni Collette, Allison Janney and Dan Aykroyd in roles small enough that I suspect that Tammy was a labor of love for people who liked Melissa McCarthy, which I did not until now.

The story is the merest trifle of a road comedy, as McCarthy and Sarandon proceed down the road and encounter people and places and comic episodes that are in fact linked together in something resembling a single plot, but don't worry about that.

And don't worry about McCarthy's weight-- her character certainly doesn't. And it, like everything else in Tammy, is tastefully handled, except perhaps the language, which may annoy the delicate. But it's worth putting up with for everything else.