Irreverent road-trip comedy banks on women power | Inquirer Entertainment

Irreverent road-trip comedy banks on women power

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:11 AM September 13, 2014

MCCARTHY, BATES AND SARANDON. Romance isn’t the only thing that makes their journey eventful.

There are crass jokes and politically incorrect situations in Ben Falcone’s “Tammy”—but, the cool confidence of the film’s supporting actresses, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and Sandra Oh, rub off on the movie and its polarizing lead star, Melissa McCarthy. The characters the trio portrays don’t always make the right decisions in life, but they stand by their choices and refuse to get trapped in the perceived limitations of their gender.

For her part, the 44-year-old, Oscar-nominated actress is cast as a woman who doesn’t mind getting on everybody’s bad side—which is similar to many of her past roles (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat,” “Identity Thief”).


When Tammy’s car hits a deer on her way to work, the accident sets off a series of unfortunate situations that expose her to further abuse: She gets fired for reporting late for work and catches her husband (Nat Faxon) having a romantic dinner with their next-door neighbor (Toni Collette)!


She goes on a road trip and grudgingly agrees to let her grandmother, Pearl (Sarandon), tag along (it’s her car and money). Unlike Tammy, who doesn’t know where she’s headed, Pearl wants to go all the way to Niagara, about a thousand kilometers away—to make her childhood dream a reality!

Something unexpected

Then, something unexpected happens when Tammy and Pearl meet Bobby (Mark Duplass) and his father, Earl (Gary Cole), during a stopover in Kentucky, halfway through their journey—sparks fly!

Romance isn’t the only thing that makes the journey of this mismatched pair eventful: Someone is hauled off to prison, while the other is forced to rob a shop—dire situations that compel a pair of married lesbians to come to their rescue! Thankfully, the couple isn’t used as fodder for silly gender jokes, but provides surprising lessons about fighting for things that truly matter.

The film’s irreverent humor is too in-your-face and broad to pass for sophisticated comedy —some of its jokes work, while others don’t. However, it’s refreshing to see headstrong women do crazy things that are often only expected from men —and it’s even more comforting to hear them owning up to their faults, and learning from them!

But, somebody should caution McCarthy about doing the same character type over and over again—because, in some scenes, her “been there-done that” antics feel overwrought and repetitive. As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat—so, the comedienne needs to diversify her “tricks” and expand her range before her idiosyncratic brand of comedy overstays its welcome! —Think Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen and Jim Carrey.


Perhaps her upcoming team-up with Bill Murray can teach Melissa a thing or two about how to keep her comedy fresh, unpredictable and “antiformula.” In Theodore Melfi’s “St. Vincent,” an alcoholic war veteran (Murray) is tasked to watch over McCarthy’s underperforming 12-year-old son while she isn’t around. But, the retiree’s idea of “after-school” activities includes going to racetracks —and visiting strip clubs!

And, in Paul Feig’s “Spy,” the actress plays secret agent Susan Cooper, who crosses paths with —Jason Statham and Jude Law! —Will she be able to keep up with them?

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TAGS: Comedy, Melissa McCarthy, movie, Sandra Oh, Susan Sarandon, Tammy

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