I have a soft spot for Melissa McCarthy. I have felt this way since she played Sookie in Gilmore Girls. She has the ability to snap off her lines in a completely fresh way as if she just thought it up. Her physical package moves with humor and grace and maximum impact. There is a scene in her new movie of a hold up in a fast food restaurant which she plays with a greasy paper bag over her head. It shouldn’t be this funny, but somehow she makes it work. Or is it just that this was the only movie with women leads produced by Hollywood this summer (as usual)?
In Tammy, McCarthy plays a woman who wrecks her car, loses her job, and discovers her husband with another woman all within the space of a few hours. Together with her grandmother who has money, Tammy strikes off on a road trip to Niagara Falls because her grandmother always wanted to see it. Susan Sarandon plays the grandmother whose character is supposed to be old and sick and alcoholic but somehow immediately seduces the first guy she sets eyes on and keeps on drinking as if being drunk were innately funny. This kind of characterization might work on paper, but on screen it comes off as ridiculous.
People with dimples need to work less to charm you. Melissa McCarthy has dimples. The dimples and the compressed situation (loser on three fronts) combine to make you root for Tammy. There is also the lower middle class context which would be refreshing for a Hollywood picture. But I wish like many other people that Melissa McCarthy did not make movies as poorly written as this one (and she is the screenwriter). Why can’t she play roles that show all of her range? Is this the same as wishing that Lucille Ball had acted in Shakespeare plays? This movie is sloppy, unbelievable, and includes an animated deer who leaps to life.
Variety reports that this Fourth of July weekend had the weakest box office in ten years. Hollywood keeps releasing movies for teens who don’t go to the theater, leaving mature audiences in the cold. The reports says, “The Weinstein Company’s “Begin Again” benefited from good buzz and a lack of options for older moviegoers, expanding from a handful of theaters to 175 locations and earning $1.8 million over the five-day period.” Every summer, I am away from New York City, where there are movies offered for people of all kinds. Out of range of a city, mature people (and people with brains) must depend on their computers just as the young do.