Melissa McCarthy’s Failed “Tammy”

July 2, 2014 1:07 PM

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Essentially, McCarthy applies her unique comic style—a fast-talking, raucous routine of boastful vanity and socially awkward swagger—to a near-neo-noir plot of a lower-middle-class downward spiral. She and Falcone came up with a story that highlights the essential element that distinguishes Tammy’s tale from sheer tragedy and rescues it for comedy: namely, its middle-class setting, which is defined as a safety net of prosperous and secure family connections and friends who can appear when needed, as the deus ex cash machine to keep the movie’s plot in progress.

The subject of “Tammy” is the very definition of the middle class—its nonexistence, with one foot slipping into poverty, dependency, and despair and the other perilously clung to by those who’ve climbed to higher economic echelons and reach out a helping hand (and then, with safety momentarily resto...

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