Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon provide 'Tammy's' comic fuel

July 2, 2014 3:43 PM

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In McCarthy, we have a performer we can trust to deliver laughs even when they barely exist on the page. The "Mike & Molly" star and Oscar nominee (for "Bridesmaids") produced and co-wrote her latest with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed. The movie doesn't look like anything special. The number of reaction shots designed to cue audience adoration could choke a horse. Yet matters of visual craft, story logic and tonal indecision are nothing up against a diversion that pounds its heroine with adversity while allowing her a romantic prospect in the form of a nice, gentle fellow, in this case played by Mark Duplass, whose job in "Tammy" is mainly to beam and crack up at his co-star.

This is what it's like most of a typical movie year, only with the genders switched. The overwhelming percentage of comedies are made, driven and consumed by guys; the female roles limit actresses either to decoration or bland, recessive supportive background maternal figures. "Tammy" at least lets ...

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