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Tammy (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 96 minutes.

Not for children.

There was a movie named Tammy and the Bachelor in 1957. Starring Debbie Reynolds, it was a charming romance and featured an eponymous no. 1 hit. It was sung over the opening credits by the Ames Bros., and then later in the movie by Reynolds, who got the hit. It was sweet and funny.

When you see that this movie is co-produced by Will Ferrell, who seems bent on destroying comedy as we know it, it will come as no surprise that this Tammy has no relationship to Debbie’s Tammy.

Where Debbie’s Tammy was beautiful and sweet and innocent, Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy is of meager intelligence, gross, and vulgar. Worse, director Ben Falcone (McCarthy’s husband) can’t seem to decide if he’s making a vulgar comedy or a film of maturation and relationships. The result is neither.

There don’t seem to be any high moral values that are emphasized; rather anomie is glorified. Susan Sarandon plays an alcoholic, oversexed grandmother who is so over-the-top she destroys credulity, not that the movie had any anyway. She acts shamelessly and it’s played for laughs (unsuccessfully). Undoubtedly due to Ferrell’s influence, the movie goes out of its way to be crude.

The last movie in which I saw McCarthy, Identity Thief (2013), surprised me because it was so funny. So I started this movie programmed to laugh, which I did at the beginning. My companion at the movie nailed it. She said, “It was good for the first six minutes and then it started downhill.” And, like a rock, the downhill roll kept gaining speed so that with 30 minutes left I was in agony, praying for a mercifully quick termination. But thinking about it after the ordeal finally ended, I think I was laughing at the beginning because I was expecting to laugh, not because it was funny.

There are many small roles, indeed little more than cameos, by stars such as Allison Janney, Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Dan Aykroyd, and Toni Collette, but they add nothing to the movie, so puerile are the story, script, and directing.

There were some outtakes interspersed with the end credits. I stayed for the first few but they were no better than the movie, so I didn’t stay for the rest of the outtakes.