Tuesday, 8 July 2014

REVIEW - TAMMY (BEN FALCONE)


A thoroughly turbulent comedy designed so completely around its two leads that its supporting cast members end up in a lottery for which ones work. And like the lotto balls, they're jostled around, only a few emerging lucky in the end. Tammy the film rather resembles Tammy the character, in that it takes you through a variety of raucous experiences in a manner that suggests a wayward, psychologically unstable drunk - outrageous and hilarious one moment, crass and stupid the next, emotionally open and affecting one moment, cloying the next, good company one moment, intolerable the next. You put up with the bad bits for the good ones, as you should - they'll be the ones you'll remember, since Tammy is a 97-minute comedy film, not an actual alcoholic genuinely determined to self-destruct. One of the film's most admirable qualities is its brazen delight in exploiting such self-destruction in its main characters: their lives either going or already gone to shit, Tammy invites us both to laugh and to cry, and that unsettling feeling you get as you feel tempted to do both is a part of its covertly nasty charm. And the film is certainly funny... it's just not much fun. It's a commonplace comedy in essence, with its sights set low enough already that it's a shame spouses Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy settled for even less again. A film that amounts, structurally, to a string of sketches, basically, could have benefitted from nixing a few of them altogether. For such a lightweight work, it sure plods in parts. Consistently, though, Falcone and McCarthy right their ship, and return to delivering the goods, whose impact is perhaps even heightened in juxtaposition against some of the less successful. Not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but peppered with some pretty great moments.