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'Tammy' is a waste of talent


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Posted Online: July 03, 2014, 12:07 pm
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By Rick Bentley
It's difficult to decide if the new Melissa McCarthy comedy "Tammy" is such a major disappointment because it's so poorly written and acted or because it is such a monumental waste of talent.

McCarthy -- who never has seen an obnoxious, annoying and distasteful character she didn't want to play -- plays the obnoxious, annoying and distasteful Tammy. After Tammy wrecks her car, loses her job and discovers her husband cheating on her, she decides to run away. Joining her on this trek of self-discovery is her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon).

Fueled by an unimaginative script, the pair head for Niagara Falls, N.Y., but end up in Louisville, Ky. They must have taken a left turn at Disappointing Lane before getting to Waste Of Time Avenue.

Their road trip humor starts with an alcoholic binge, continues through several more bar stops and eventually comes crashing into what is called "a lesbian Fourth of July party" where there's even more liquor. If you haven't figured it out by now, grandmother and granddaughter have a drinking problem.

They only put their glasses down to commit idiotic actions, such as robbing a fast food restaurant or taking a jet ski ride. Both ideas had the potential to be funny, but the script by McCarthy and her husband / director, Ben Falcone, lapses into bad gags.

Seeing an irate Tammy knock stuff off a shelf or rack is mildly amusing the first time. But -- like almost every so-called joke in the film -- it grows old and cold fast. By the time the movie tries to shake off its comic hangover and find some sweetness, it's way too late.

The failed humor is magnified by the failed use of the outstanding cast. Oscar-winner Sarandon does her best to give the movie some life. But even Dr. Frankenstein couldn't give life to the lifeless jokes Sarandon has to offer. And fellow Oscar winner Kathy Bates has little to do except for serve as the voice of reason in a story that is unreasonable.

The most catastrophic waste of talent is the way Oscar nominee Toni Collette is treated. In most scenes, she has no lines. There's no way an actor of this stature and ability should be cast as little more than a set decoration.

Maybe the film would have worked if the script had been written past the boundaries of absurdity. The closest it comes to doing that is the opening scene where Tammy smacks a deer with her car. But the story immediately retreats into the safe and familiar for McCarthy and the movie coasts to a slow and painful stop.

"Tammy" had the right cast to be a monster comedy hit. Any potential is beaten to submission by a story that lacks originality and any glimpse of smart humor.


'TAMMY'

MPAA rating: R for language, crude humor.
Length: 96 minutes.
Verdict: Zero stars.
















 



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  Today is Monday, Sept. 22, the 265th day of 2014. There are 100 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The board of education has granted Thursday as a holiday for the children, with the expectation that parents who desire to have their children attend the Scott County Fair will do so on that day and save irregularity the rest of the week.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The guard fence around the new cement walk at the Harper House has been removed. The blocks are diamond shape, alternating in black and white.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The Rev. R.B. Williams, former pastor of the First Methodist Church, Rock Island, was named superintendent of the Rock Island District.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Abnormally high temperatures and lack of rainfall in Illinois during the past week have speeded maturing of corn and soybean crops.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Installation of a new television system in St. Anthony's Hospital, which includes a closed circuit channel as well as the three regular Quad-Cities channels, has been completed and now is in operation.
1989 -- 25 years ago: When the new Moline High School was built in 1958, along with it were plans to construct a football field in the bowl near 34th Street on the campus. Wednesday afternoon, more than 30 years later, the Moline Board of Education Athletic Board sent the ball rolling toward the possible construction of that field by asking superintendent Richard Hennigan to take to the board of education a proposal to hire a consultant.






(More History)