Having catapulted to stardom in "The Bridesmaids," "The Heat" and "Identity Thief," Melissa McCarthy has enough clout within the industry to co-write, produce and star in this ridiculously contrived comedy, collaborating with her husband, director Ben Falcone. Once again, she plays a brash, trash-talking woman whose arrogance conceals vulnerability and need for love and acceptance.
Disheveled Tammy is (McCarthy) not having a good day. First, she crashes her car into a deer, then gets fired from her job at Topper Jack's, a greasy, fast-food restaurant. Returning home, she finds her husband (Nat Faxon) romancing their next-door neighbor (Toni Collette).
Furious, Tammy packs her bag and marches off to tell her mother (Alison Janney) that she's leaving town. But Tammy has neither money nor wheels -- until Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) offers a car and more than $6,000 in cash. So angry, aggressive Tammy and her alcoholic, diabetic, promiscuous Grandma embark on a road trip.
At that point, the film completely loses credibility. Saucy, sexy Sarandon is only 24 years older than McCarthy; even in a scraggly gray wig, she makes a far more interesting protagonist. Plus, Janney is 11 years older than McCarthy and 13 years younger than Sarandon.
As they head from Illinois toward Niagara Falls, making a wrong turn that lands them in Missouri, their frustrating encounters with men (Gary Cole, Mark Duplass) are so wretchedly underwritten that there's genuine relief when they arrive at a Fourth of July party, hosted by Grandma's wealthy lesbian cousin (Kathy Bates) and her partner (Sandra Oh).
Problem is: none of this is funny. Adding insult to injury, wasting the talents of Collette ("Little Miss Sunshine"), Janney ("The Help"), Oh ("Grey's Anatomy") and Dan Aykroyd ("Saturday Night Live") on bit parts is a crime, augmented by the idiotic, unfocused antics of obnoxious Tammy as she tries to unload her emotional baggage and reconcile years of rejection and resentment.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Tammy" is a tiresome, tedious 3 -- with McCarthy taking an unfortunate pratfall.