There are movies that you watch and there are movies that you experience. Tammy was an experience. No, wait, that’s not quite right, let me rephrase that. Tammy was an ordeal. An ordeal that began before I entered the theater.
Never before have I ever been searched and scanned with a metal detector before seeing a movie. That’s right, I had to go through a checkpoint to see Tammy. I had to do it twice because I went out to get popcorn and a soda. This would be excusable if I was attending an early screening of a summer blockbuster with a ton of buzz around It but alas this was not Avengers 2, this was Tammy.
I am by no means opposed to low-brow comedies. I can admit to enjoying a fair number of Adam Sandler or even Rob Shneider films. A movie can be vulgar and raunchy and still be good. Tammy is vulgar but definitely not good.
When one sets out to make a comedy about a lovable loser one has to make sure to do one simple but crucial thing: Your lovable loser must be lovable. They can be abrasive, they can be angry, they can be rude, and they can be disgusting but they absolutely have to have some redeeming quality that makes the audience root for them. The titular Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is all of these things but the audience is given no reason to root for her. This is a character that deserves every horrible thing that happens to her and I refuse to feel bad for her. She is a rude, selfish, lazy, and stupid person who is responsible for all of her own misery.
The movie starts with Tammy hitting a deer with her car because she can’t keep her eyes on the road. Fortunately said deer is not dead due to being made out of bad CGI, it then proceeds to justly kick the crap out of its would be killer. Because of this Tammy arrives late to her job at a burger joint and gets into a fight with her boss who I think we’re supposed to see as a jerk but whose choice to terminate her employment is completely justified. You see it wasn’t her late arrival that got her fired but her open and uncalled for insolence toward her manager. She then throws a tantrum and contaminates the food of several innocent customers.
Tammy arrives home to find her husband having dinner with another woman and throws yet another tantrum. She then runs down the street to her moms house where she proceeds to bitch at her. Fifteen minutes into the movie I have no reason to care about the protagonist. We are then introduced to Tammys grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) who is an unlikable alcoholic lech. Tammy and Pearl then decide to go on a road trip and I begin to wish that I was watching Thelma and Louise instead.
The rest of the movie is a series of unfunny escapades that doesn’t involve anybody learning a lesson, bonding, or overcoming their inner demons. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a movie where two horrible people are horrible to each other then you’ll love Tammy. There is an attempt at a moment of redemption when Pearls cousin Lenore (Kathy Bates) gives Tammy a speech about responsibility and working hard to realize your dreams but it is a moment not earned and falls flat. Tammy gets arrested for all the really stupid things she did in the course of the movie, including armed robbery, and goes to jail. When she gets out she is met by her dad Don (Dan Aykroyd) whose two minutes of screen time provide genuine comedy relief.
The movie ends on an unjustified happy note with Tammy finding love and moving on to unspecified success. I think the movie just gave at the end there as we’re not really given an explanation to how any of this comes about. I am at last relieved to leave the poorly air conditioned theater.
This is one of those rare films that has absolutely no reason to exist. If it does anything it makes its otherwise talented cast look bad. Melissa McCarthy can be funny but not when she spends the entirety of the running time screaming and screeching while being as gross as possible. I wasn’t expecting a work of genius but when attending the screening of a comedy I do have the reasonable expectation of having a few laughs. I didn’t get my laughs, I feel robbed.
There is nothing else to be said about this movie. If you must see it then wait for a Netflix/Redbox release. Better yet, do the the actors who have done and will go on to do better films a favor and don’t see it at all.