TAMMY (Ben Falcone). 97 minutes. Now playing. For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Melissa McCarthy is taking her onscreen persona in another direction. In Tammy, which she co-wrote with her husband, Ben Falcone (who also directs), the star of Identity Thief and The Heat once again plays a trashy, foul-mouthed terrorist against civility. But now she's dropping those luxurious f-bombs in what tries to be a sensitive road dramedy that wouldn't be entirely out of place at Sundance.
For a studio comedy opening on the hottest blockbuster weekend of the summer, these characters are uncommonly introspective, periodically stealing away for a few sincere moments to consider their personal failures. You have to admire McCarthy and Falcone for the gamble, even if it isn't entirely successful.
After being fired from her job, Tammy finds her husband cheating and aimlessly hits the road with her promiscuous, alcoholic grandma. The latter is played by Susan Sarandon, invoking broad memories of Thelma & Louise.
The slim material rarely lives up to the casting. The entertaining push and pull between McCarthy and Sarandon makes you feel cheated that they aren't in a better movie together.
Tammy swerves between silly, throwaway, vulgar comedy and indie flavour of the week as if it doesn't really know what lane it should be in, but the stars make the most of the bumpy ride with scenes that are genuine, warm and funny.