We have been lied to. We were promised a movie about a pie-stealing feral wildwoman, and what we got was a chick-bonding road trip movie. And not just that – it’s a journey of self-discovery stuffed with Americana, complete with hugging and learning lessons and overcoming our something-or-other.
Written by star Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, who also directs, Tammy starts out like a Will Ferrell comedy. The character begins as a completely un-self aware semi-literate wild woman. After she teams up with grandma (!) Susan Sarandon, she becomes a sort of sweet overgrown child who we are meant to like for her spunkiness.
The duo’s journey through America’s heartland is a weird mix of pandering and insulting. I imagine that the glimpses of life in Missouri and Kentucky, places not normally seen in movies, is meant to draw a big middle American audience – but the portrayal of the inhabitants as overweight dimwits is not flattering. And if America is only made up of fast-food joints and cheap motels, then I for one am ready to welcome our new insect overlords.
Tammy has some laughs. Melissa McCarthy is obviously good at physical comedy, and who could dislike Susan Sarandon? Plus Kathy Bates shows up as a wealthy lesbian relation. But Will Ferrell or Sasha Baron-Cohen would have known better than to try to make the character likable. Ultimately Tammy disappoints by trying to warm our hearts when it should have been delivering the laughs.
Overall Score: 58
Letter Grade: C+