I would say that Melissa McCarthy was typecast in this movie, but I won’t since she co-wrote the thing.
“Tammy” follows the life of the title character, played by McCarthy, who is experiencing one of the worst days one could have. First, she loses her job for being late to work, and that is followed by a discovery that her husband is cheating on her. After those disasters, she decides to leave town to clear her head. She doesn’t make the trip alone, though, as her grandma Pearl (Surandon) decides to tag along.
From there the two go off on a few wild adventures where they meet up with old and new friends and Tammy makes a pit stop to rob a fast food restaurant.
The first scene in “Tammy” involves the protagonist hitting a dear with her car and trying to bring it back to life by blowing in its face. That right there should tell the audience what kind of experience they’re in for, and at that point it’s usually too late to ask for a refund. The entire first half of the film Tammy isn’t just shown as a vulgar, street smart type character like she played in “The Heat,” instead, she is shown to be one of the dumbest, most irresponsible and unlikeable characters ever.
Then, suddenly, right as the third act gets going, Tammy’s character and the plot of the entire film do a complete 180 and change things around. Tammy becomes a smarter character and the movie starts to focus on things like alcoholism and how to get one’s life back on track.
The problem with this switch to a seemingly smarter movie in the third act is that the film doesn’t earn it. The first two acts of the picture never build up to where Tammy or this story is really going. It’s as if the movie was aimless for nearly the entire thing and then just found a story thread that it jumped on. This creates a problem because the tone is so vastly different that it ends up not matching and it becomes a disjointed mess.
Melissa McCarthy’s character becomes better later on, but most of the movie she’s just doing pratfall type humor which gets old really fast. For most of the movie her character is so vulgar and stupid that there is no reason to like her. It’s a complete contrast to some of the characters John Candy would play, for example. Where at times those character were simple minded, but they had a lot of heart, were well meaning and had some clever humor. McCarthy is unable to even attempt that in “Tammy” because the character is written so poorly.
Susan Surandon’s acting was OK in the movie, but nothing special. The biggest issue is that she has very little chemistry with McCarthy which doesn’t create a good comedic duo. What’s worse is that Surandon’s character is an alcoholic, and at some points the movie is making fun of this plot point and at others it’s trying to be serious, and it doesn’t work.
The supporting cast is actually the only good part of this flick. Mark Duplass and Kathy Bates step into scenes in the later half of the film and seem to be the only sane people in the room. Their characters both actually had some charm to them and they made the movie bearable.
They certainly weren’t able to save the comedy in “Tammy,” though, since almost all of the humor is directed at slap stick, prat falling humor with McCarthy. There is hardly any wit or cleverness to the comedy in this picture.
“Tammy” is a terrible movie that felt like it didn’t know what it really wanted to be. At some points it seems like it’s just a stupid comedy but at others it looks like it wants to be a indie road trip flick. 1 out of 5.