Movie Review: Melissa McCarthy’s Dramedy ‘Tammy’ Proves Life Is Good

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By: Adelle Platon / July 2, 2014
Bridesmaids’ breakout star proves even a shitty life is good. Word to Nas.

Growing up isn’t rocket science. It just takes a lot of cruddy life experiences and more courage to decide you’re not gonna throw daily pity parties for yourself when things don’t turn out the way you planned. Here’s where Tammy, the good-intentioned comedy of misfortune helmed by Oscar-nominated funny woman Melissa McCarthy, stomps in. It’s a coming of age story that arrives when you least expect it.

As most underdog tales begin, Tammy is having the worst day ever. Her car gets totaled after a run-in with a deer, she gets fired from her fast food job at Topperjack’s, finds out her husband’s cheating at home then has a bitch fit at her mom’s house (only two doors down the block) and wants to escape the BS A.S.A.P. Fortunately, an unlikely getaway plan presents itself: a joy ride with grandma Pearl (played by a silver-haired Susan Sarandon) to Niagara Falls.

McCarthy is no sex symbol by GQ standards but it’s the not-being-skinny and foul mouth that make her a big-screen charmer. Even when she’s void of makeup and rocking greasy fast food paper bags for hats or nearly sucking face with a deer, she becomes the kidult you want to root for. Known by most for her role as the honest-to-goodness Megan in 2011’s Bridesmaids, Tammy plays the anti-Kardashian to a T. While on her bumpy road trip with Pearl, she treks along in black Crocs and shirts that say “Mahalo” on it. One highlight: her Topperjack’s hijack for $1650 to bail out her grandmama after both were thrown into the slammer for a drunken public disturbance and illegal possession of oxycontin. After having a raunchy heart-to-heart with her diabetes-stricken G’ma about her medical condition and past flings, Tammy tails it to the fast food joint with two finger guns and pulls off the most kind-hearted stick-up in cinema.

Life may not be a walk in the trailer park but the dramedy (also co-produced by Will Ferrell and co-written by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone) shows that perfection is overrated. Here, you won’t find a predictable rom-com-y romance with her love interest played by The League’s Mark Duplass. (Sidebar: you will get awesome one-liners, though, like: “I’m like a Cheeto, you can’t just have one”.) Instead, Tammy is the magic that makes shitty real-life situations worth it. Even Sarandon (who’d probably be part of the popular crowd at the nursing home) shows that age ain’t nothing but the right time to turn up. Maturity is a process and if you’re lucky, you’ll make mistakes while trying to reach your Niagara Falls, wherever it may be.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)

Tammy opens in theaters Wednesday, July 2