When the life of Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) falls apart, she goes on an adventurous journey to Niagara Falls with her alcoholic grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon). Though planned as a comedy, this film turns out little funny, but surprisingly profound.
Overweight and chaotic Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) smashes her ride in an accident on the way to work. When she arrives too late and with a bloody nose at her employer's, a shabby burger restaurant, the manager calls her into his office to fire her right away. And because Tammy arrives back home earlier than usual, she catches her husband Greg (Nat Faxon) having a romantic meal with neighbor Missi (Toni Collette). This is definitely too much!
As an angry irrational act Tammy packs her bags and flees to her mother Deb (Allison Janney) to borrow her car, which Deb refused Tammy, because she knows her daughter will return after a few hours anyway. But then Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) provides not only her wheels, but also quite an amount of cash to finally escape this dump, too. Out of necessity Tammy goes on a trip into the unknown with her alcoholic granny...
Many people have certain expectations of Melissa McCarthy due to larger roles in the series "Gilmore Girls" and the comedies "Bridesmaids" (gained her an Oscar nod), "Identity Thief", "Hangover 3" and "The Heat"—but these expectations are only partly fulfilled in "Tammy". She plays another of those outrageous and loud-mouthed roles in a wacky comedy, it seems.
But despite some wildness and adventurousness "Tammy" surprises by striking some softer notes and being based on a more serious family drama. The jokes don't particularly come blow upon blow, and a lot of humor doesn't really ignite (the trailer will allow for a good indication on this). The scenes which are meant to be funny fall a bit short and seem too long, but soon something twisty or dramatic happens. The story, which McCarthy co-wrote with her husband, actor Ben Falcone, is actually not too boring and quite diversified.
The directorial debut of McCarthy's husband Falcone probably tries to be, but is not quite the usual dirty joke that Hollywood delivered in recent years. Whether it is on purpose or unintentional that the humor doesn't properly work, does not matter. But some viewers' expectation that "Tammy" is a surefire comedy mixing "The Heat" and "Thelma & Louise" will be the cause of some frustration.
Others will appreciate the slightly more serious subject matter and presentation. After all, such stars as Academy Award winners Susan Sarandon ("Rocky Horror Picture Show") and Kathy Bates ("Titanic") as well as Toni Collette ("The Sixth Sense"), Dan Aykroyd ("Blues Brothers," "Ghostbusters"), Sandra Oh ("Grey's Anatomy"), Gary Cole and Mark Duplass ("Humpday") compensate some of the movie's shortcomings, even though many roles are not particularly strong or varied. The most interesting and rounded might be the lesbian great aunt Lenore played by Bates.
Moviegoers should be aware what "Tammy" really delivers. Then one can spend quite tolerable 96 minutes.