Going into the theatre, I was a little nervous about how this review would turn out. On the one hand, I love Melissa McCarthy, especially in The Heat; on the other hand, from the trailers, I got a feeling that this was going to be the female version of an Adam Sandler-esque movie (not so much of a fan there). And then there were the two factors that could push it either way—Ben Falcone’s directorial debut and Melissa McCarthy co-writing her first screenplay alongside Falcone, who has had very little experience writing before this, with the majority being Looney Tunes shows (nothing wrong with that, it’s just that a film is a completely different animal).
But I wasn’t alone in my comparison of the trailer to your standard Adam Sandler flick—my sister was under the same impression. We had decided to go on cheap night Tuesday, just in case we weren’t fans after all; we could at least find comfort in knowing that we only paid half the regular price to see it.
Well, it ended up we got a bit of a deal. Tammy wasn’t half bad after all.
Just in case you’ve seen the trailer and are having the same thoughts I did, let me offer you a more accurate summary of what this film is all about: Tammy is about Tammy (no creative titles here), a woman who, in just one day, totalled her car, was fired from her job, found her husband cheating on her, had his mistress “attack” her (it was self-defence, but Tammy needed to say something to maintain some dignity) and found that she had no money to get away from it all. Well, luck has it that her alcoholic, diabetic grandma, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), has had enough of that town, too, and she has a wad of cash and a car—time for a road trip. Of course, everything goes wrong on the road trip; they have some ups and downs, but some of the downs lead to ups and Tammy finds herself falling for another man, Bobby (Mark Duplass), who just happens to be cute, kind, funny, generous and did I mention cute? (I kind of developed a couple crush; they’re just too adorable together to not cheer them on.) In the end, both Tammy and Pearl find themselves in a completely different spot from where they began.
Just like the plot, the quality of this film has its ups and downs, too. There were actually a surprising number of emotional scenes, some being pretty dark, which undercut the humour. There were also some plot devices that just didn’t seem to make sense (if you’re smart enough to get rid of half the evidence when running from the cops, you’d think you’d be smart enough to ditch it all). There is one obvious example of this near the end, but it’s too much of a spoiler to mention—you’ll know it when you see it, though.
As for the dialogue, it was obvious that McCarthy and Falcone wrote it. It had their humour throughout. At times, this came across as completely awkward, as this style of humour doesn’t mesh with every character. These lines were the ones that came across as more cringeworthy than funny. And in the serious times, it seems like everyone was trying to give Tammy advice, but it was always so harsh. They seemed to be kicking her when she was already down, with Bobby being the only one to acknowledge this and be supportive of her finding her own way. Yes, she needed to hear some of those words, but at the right time and in the right way. Here, it just seemed like these moments were squeezed into the plot to force it forward—and it was obvious.
(Sidenote: It was refreshing to have a lesbian party in a mainstream movie that wasn’t highly sexualized.)
In the end, because Tammy was complete Melissa McCarthy humour, I found I enjoyed the film more than I thought I would. Knowing, too, that there was more to it than what is shown in the trailer is a definite plus. In the end, it was a bargain at half-price; full-price, though, may be a stretch. If you’re a McCarthy fan, it may be worth the splurge.