I first learned that a comedy was not necessarily funny many years ago when I read William Saroyan’s novel, “The Human Comedy.” While a comedy often depicts an irreverent look at humanity which may be perceived as humorous, this is not always the case. And some things which you expect to be humorous simply aren’t. And that was my impression of the movie “Tammy” which is currently out for purchase via various cable and satellite TV providers.
To start out on a positive note I will say that the acting was excellent. Melissa McCarthy was more than convincing as Tammy; Susan Sarandon did an excellent job as Grandma and of course, Kathy Bates did her usual outstanding job as Leanor. If anything, the story was too real and too convincing as a slice of life in today’s world. Someday it may be categorized as a docu-drama depicting the culture of 2014 (or lack thereof), somewhat like “Blast from the Past” captures the 1950s. For this and its convincing content I would give it one star.
The basic story is of a young, obese young woman whose name, of course, is Tammy (McCarthy), who has had a very bad day. First, she wrecks her car, proceeds to lose her job and then, the coup de gras, she gets home early to find her husband enjoying an intimate dinner with a female neighbor. Justifiably upset, she heads to her parents’ house, who seem relatively normal, but also happen to have an extra house guest, i.e., “Grandma,” (Sarandon) who has a wad of cash and a good car so before you can say “lickity split” Grandma and Tammy head out on a road trip.
And everything goes steadily downhill from there.
I am not amused by a character who is dirty, gross, crude and disgusting besides being overtly stupid and disrespectful of everything and everyone including the law. While Tammy does do some changing throughout the course of the movie, particularly while sitting in a jail cell, if anything this movie demonstrated exactly what is wrong with the world today. This is not to say that I look down on people who work in fast-food restaurants, are grossly overweight (I’ve packed on quite a few extra pounds myself over the years) or have finally had enough and have a meltdown. I know the world is not fair and that it’s difficult to make it financially or otherwise in today’s world. The “redneck” mentality has been highly glamorized the past few years and yes, I’ve laughed at Jeff Foxworthy and various others as much as anyone else, but even rednecks usually have more dignity than shown in this film. I suspect that even the folks on Duck Dynasty would be offended.
The best part of this pitiful story is when Leanor (Bates) tells Tammy like it is: There is no free lunch and if you want to have something you have to work for it, hard. Self-pity and not caring about your appearance, language, behavior or future lead nowhere but the dead-end road found somewhere in the vicinity where this movie started.
Maybe Leanor’s message will be absorbed by those who can relate to this pitiful character or maybe it won’t. You can always hope. Personally I found this flick downright depressing as a sad commentary on at least one of the reasons why the world is in the fix it is today.