‘Tammy’ a Large, Unfunny Mess

Tammy_poster            I’m not going to sugarcoat it: ‘’Tammy” may be one of the most unfunny movies I’ve ever seen. And I endured through “Grown Ups 2”.

Starring and co-written by Melissa McCarthy, and directed and co-written by her husband Ben Falcone, “Tammy” follows McCarthy as she embarks on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon, only 24 years older than McCarthy in real life).

McCarthy really has been typecast at this point as the larger, sloppy woman whose life is a mess. Think about all her movies and tell me I’m wrong.  Speaking of which, her films are really hit-and-miss for me; I really liked “The Heat”, however “Identity Thief” was very underwhelming. But compared to “Tammy”, “Identity Thief” looks like comedy gold.

Not much in “Tammy” works. From the script, to the direction, to the performances, everything ranges from average to boring, near all of it being unfunny.

The script, written by McCarthy and Falcone over the period of a few years, is just so jumbled. There is a point in the film when Tammy turns to her grandmother and says “I don’t know where I’m going”. The movie has no idea, either. There are points where two characters will be in the middle of a conversation and it will just take a turn and go into darkly dramatic territory. And it doesn’t do it with finesse like “Funny People”, but actually makes you feel awkward and depressed.

Even McCarthy and Sarandon, two generally likeable actresses, are given near nothing to do and their characters are both pretty one note. Tammy is a caricature of McCarthy and doesn’t really have a character arc; Grandma is an alcoholic and that is pretty much the only thing we learn about her for the whole film. There is a brief second that Tammy addresses her grandmother’s drinking, but that is breezed over in one scene.

If the film was funny, even in a stupid way, it would be easier to forgive its structure flaws but the fact is I may have laughed twice. And those laughs were awkwardly forced because I appreciated what the effort of the actors. But I’m going to be honest: I was bored during a large portion of this movie.

“Tammy” should have been better than it is; much better, in fact. With McCarthy starring, people like Mark Duplass and Gary Cole in supporting roles, Will Ferrell producing and even Dan Aykroyd making an appearance, this kind of feels like 2012’s “The Watch”: lots of big comedic names that add nothing to a sloppy, unfunny mess.

I went into “Tammy” with an open mind; it’s been a month since “22 Jump Street” so I haven’t had a solid laugh at the movies since then. But I would watch Jump Street a hundred more times before sitting through “Tammy” again, and you would be wise to follow me. Jokes are set up and never executed, and the film is poorly edited and paced. It isn’t the point of a comedy to have fun? Because someone forgot to tell the makers of “Tammy” that.

Critics Rating: 3/10