Remember how movies told stories? This one doesn’t
Tammy has a few decent gags. Shame they’re in this movie. Melissa McCarthy gears up for another romp where she screams, runs, and acts oafish only this time there is little to connect the pieces. Teamed with the hard drinking and (rarely) miscast Susan Sarandon, the pair head to the road to do… nothing really.
For the better part of its excruciating run time, Tammy is more of an anthology. MacCarthy is on a jet ski, she’s not on a jet ski. They’re in a bar, they’re not in a bar. Asking for a simple narrative segue would be to strain this film’s limited entertainment power and probably cause it a stroke.
In the back half, the feature turns irredeemably mopey. Tammy (McCarthy) swerves away from her routines ever so slightly to show an ounce of compassion in a movie which has none for its audience. While Tammy builds up a few villains – a fast food manager, sleaze ball husbands – they fail. Tammy has already done irreparable damage to herself. She is hardly a comedic heroine, without any sympathy for a situation caused on her own doing.
Bit parts slide into the frame, almost with cause to save this mess, but not even the charm of Kathy Bates or late entrant Dan Aykroyd will keep Tammy afloat. Writing duties are shared by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, the latter also directing. Both also pair for individual producer credits, leaving Tammy as a case seemingly without outsider interference when it so desperately requires help.
Films like this are outcasts and rare. Within seconds of screen time, Tammy is smashing into deer and acting like McCarthy’s typecast abrasive goofball in a sequence which drags toward infinity before slipping into another scene which does the same. By the time the pieces are drawn together for a middle age, feminine road trip comedy, Tammy has already suffocated. Whatever follows (and it’s an unbearable hour of strewn story parts) has no chance of recovering from the instantaneous coma no matter the superficial drama to follow.
Credit to director Ben Falcone and cinematographer Russ Alsobrook who pair to shoot Tammy on film, a rarity for almost any low-end budgeted comedy in the days of digital. On the move to Blu-ray, Warner’s encode is hardly inviting to the visible grain structure. Some signs of smearing and intruding noise creep in through compression. In motion, actual damage from this AVC work is minor.
Certainly, Tammy is well textured. Close-ups display extensive facial definition and the myriad of beautiful North Carolina exteriors are precise. Plenty of locations fill this road trip, showing off exquisite resolution. Small signs deep in the frame can easily be read. With layers of contrast and sufficient black levels, Tammy often glows. Depth is consistently strong.
Further brightening this non-event is a flurry of saturation, boosting color with brilliant primaries. Reds and greens are absolutely vivid. Flesh tones take no damage from the onslaught, and in tandem with the contrast, Tammy is never at a loss for visual energy. When all else fails, at least the movie looks great.
Predictably, mixing in the DTS-HD track is limited by the nature of real world comedies. A few lines of dialog run off into the stereos – a bit of a surprise – although the effect is limited to a single scene.
Surround use is limited by parties or bars. There are plenty though. A third act outdoor gathering spreads wide to capture cheers and music, plus a bit of fire which will catch the LFE. Some assistance from the soundtrack will rev up the low-end too, especially as Tammy makes her way toward a petty robbery which was all over the trailers.
Tammy’s Road Trip Checklist intros a slim selection of extras, sitting McCarthy and her husband down to chat about an actual road trip they recently took. The obligatory gag reel has a few laughs, but five deleted scenes are best left as deleted. Three separate “o-ramas” pile on the improv at two minutes each.
Note Tammy also comes in an extended cut which runs a few minutes longer while still carrying the R-rating. Clearly, not much has changed from the theatrical cut.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.