More Destructive Than Godzilla: ‘Tammy’ grates the nerves with clichés

Jul 15 • ARTSY SMARTSY, FEATURE BOTTOM, Film, Reviews, Interviews and Features2 Comments on More Destructive Than Godzilla: ‘Tammy’ grates the nerves with clichés

Never lambaste local productions. That’s advice I neither requested nor heeded to. The general intent of this guidance is to avoid alienating locals. In this case, it protects the film industry, which currently runs at a fever pitch with countless TV shows and movies in production—at least until NC’s shitty conservative leadership bludgeon incentives to death and drive out the film business in an exodus that will rival the crossing of the Red Sea.


DROWNING OUT THE STORY: Melissa McCarthy’s over-the-top portrayal of Tammy overpowers a great performance by Susan Sarandon and the film’s entire plot. Courtesy photo.

I never liked the idea of sugarcoating; crap is crap no matter where it’s made. A critic should let you know when you’re about to watch something terrible. “Tammy” was produced right here in Wilmington but it’s awful. Actually, awful isn’t harsh enough—“Tammy” is the cinematic equivalent of a bowel movement.

I want to like Melissa McCarthy. She succeeds when effectively used in movies like “Bridesmaids,” with her blunt honesty and foul mouth delivered in small portions. “Tammy” skips the idea of healthy portions and ladles on a heaping helping of foul-mouthed dumbery into every scene. For the record, I don’t know if “dumbery” is actually a word. If not it will be birthed into existence: a new word to describe just how terrible the character Tammy is.  

The plot comes generic as hell. Tammy discovers her husband has romantic intentions toward another woman. After watching the character for 10 minutes, I completely understand why. I don’t know if we’re supposed to feel bad for Tammy when we learn her husband has been emotionally unfaithful. I, however, side with him. Watching McCarthy spit venom and string together obscenities with the impulse control of an ADD-addled 8-year-old assaults the senses.

Out of money, out of luck and with no prospects, Tammy jumps at the first opportunity to get out of town. Her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), seeks adventure and has a wad of saved cash. They take off and encounter a string of road-movie clichés, which give McCarthy ample opportunity to do funny things like ride a WaveRunner and rob a fast-food restaurant. Along the way, they meet Earl and his son who become the defacto love interests for Tammy and Pearl. Movies like this require this kind of plot development.  It’s about as organic as the pink stuff McDonalds uses to construct chicken nuggets.  



“Tammy” is a weird experience. A sweet, heartwarming story attempts to emerge, and there are some really good actors at play. Sarandon thrives in her role. Gary Cole (“Talladega Nights,” “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law”) always brings a lot of energy. Mark Duplass charms and generates laughs. Unfortunately, every earnest attempt is nullified by the foul-mouthed, utterly-unlikable dunce played by McCarthy. It’s like viewing two films not only at odds with one another but duking it out for dominance. Imagine watching a nice, independent drama about drifting through life and the simple pleasures we don’t appreciate being interrupted by Larry the Cable Guy strutting into frame and cutting a fart loud enough to split glass.  

“Tammy” could be salvageable had the creative team even entertained the phrase “reigning it in.” But McCarthy has become a big star, which allows her to swing for the fences. The movie needs a softer touch. Even though Tammy eventually is given some sandpaper for her rough edges, it’s like watering down acid. She still irritates the senses. 

McCarthy’s only rival this summer for “most destructive monster” is Godzilla, and I think she’s capable of doing more damage. I have no problem with actors playing loud, obnoxious and unlikable characters, but in “Tammy” it’s grating. It’s like Tammy doesn’t belong in “Tammy.” McCarthy’s a cartoon playing at a style, speed and volume that drowns out everything else. It’s the kind of fundamental mistake that spoils an entire enterprise.  

“Tammy” feels like a movie made by college students funding their first feature; it reeks of amateurism. Good intentions litter the road-movie, but I’ll be damned if I enjoyed any of it. Tammy polarizes as a love-her-or-hate-her breed of character, and I hated her with a passion.



Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon and Mark Duplass
Directed by Ben Falcone
Rated R

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2 Responses to More Destructive Than Godzilla: ‘Tammy’ grates the nerves with clichés

  1. Casey says:

    Encore magazine needs to replace the self proclaimed “movie critic” Angus with someone who can express there opinions in a well written manner.
    Anghus comes across as a very bitter person who’s disgruntled by the fact they never “Made it” in the film industry and feel the need to attack anyone who has.

    The excessive use of swearing comes across and brutish and shows their very limited vocabulary. Anghus even goes so far as creating words such as Dumbery and writes an unnecessary sentience talking about how they are not even sure it is a word which a quick search of the internet would have solved.

    Angus needs to step down from his pedestal and find a new hobby. I’m sorry to break it to them but the reason they have never succeeded in writing anything for anyone other than the local encore magazine is that their articles are, and I’ll quote their own words “awful, actually awful isn’t harsh enough” If Tammy is ” the cinematic equivalent of a bowel movement” then Anghus’ page in the paper will be what I will use to wipe my ass with.

  2. anghus says:

    Dear Casey: a couple of things.

    1. Thanks for writing in. It’s always great to hear from a fan.
    2. “Self-proclaimed” would imply that I gave myself this position. In fact, I was interviewed and hired for this position, and though it may shock you , they do pay me for this service this making me a professional movie critic. Although I do like the idea that I stormed into the Encore offices , jumped up on my editors desk and declared “I AM YOUR FILM CRITIC NOW” and they just rolled with it.
    3. It’s true. Every film critic is, in fact, disgruntled and only is capable of joy when hating on more successful people. Apparently Roger Ebert couldn’t maintain an erection unless he was shouting about how much he hated the films of John McTieran.
    4. You keep referring to me as “them”. As far as I know there is only one of me. Though if there was two of me, that would help greatly with this upcoming court case. I wonder if the D.A. would believe it was the other me that was stealing food from the dumpster behind Whole Foods.
    5. I would step down, but I need the money for my lawyer. Whole Foods is really unhappy about this dumpster thing. They won’t settle, even when I cried and told them that I have an addiction to day old buffet style Indian food. And lawyers that handle proprietary food laws and refuse statutes are not cheap.
    6. If you’ve been wiping your ass with encore, it might be irritating your pooper. That could explain the high irritability content in this post. I would recommend wiping your ads with something softer. I use Dean Norris discarded tissues from Under the Dome which someone is nice enough to collect for me. You could try Charmin.
    7. Thank you for proving my opening statement. Criticizing anything made locally is a pointless endeavor because the starstruck masses of Wilmywood tend to be a humorless. Just because you worked on a movie doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. Trust me, I’ve picked up checks for working very hard on some awful projects.
    8. The only thing about this post that irritated me is how sad your argument us. You did that thing where you attack the writer rather than the argument. I get plenty of hate mail. My job as a writer has never been about being liked, it’s about being honest. I spend countless hours every week trying to explain why I like or don’t like something. All you did was call me an idiot and a failure and didn’t spend one word defending the movie I reviewed. I never expect everyone to agree with me or even like me. But after doing this for 10 years the biggest disappointment is how poorly people who don’t like something I write communicate that fact. I love discussing film ESPECIALLY when people disagree with my opinion. I love a good movie debate. But instead I get people screaming YOU SUCK or asking me to ‘step down’ from my position as if film critic is some publicly elected position.

    Casey, you made a poor argument. Attack the points, not the person who made them. If you’d like to discuss the merits of Tammy, feel free to hit me up.

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