Co-written by Hollywood power couple Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, directed by Falcone, and starring McCarthy as the titular Tammy, this rowdy road-trip flick is everything female fans hoped it would be. Most scenes pass the “Bechdel Test” with flying colors (meaning they involve at least two women talking to each other about something other than men). The script maximizes McCarthy’s supernatural physical comedy abilities while minimizing the kind of lame fat jokes that have plagued her in less shrewdly scripted projects. And the supporting cast is a who’s who of fantastic cinema women, including Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Allison Janney, Toni Collette, Sandra Oh, and Sarah Baker (a newcomer who recently caused a sensation with her righteous tirade on Louie).
The plotline is simple and flexible enough to allow for lots of hilarious detours. After the worst day ever (a car wreck leads to getting fired, which in turn leads to the discovery that her husband is cheating) Tammy (McCarthy) loses her shit and escapes onto the open road with the only person she knows who has the cash and the wheels to support her wanderlust—her hard-drinking grandma Pearl (Sarandon). Laws, hearts, and personal boundaries are broken, secrets are revealed, and snap decisions lead to crazy consequences. But even amidst these myriad twists, the real core of the story steadily revolves around female reinvention. Once a woman says “screw it” to all of society’s conventions, and instead chooses to pursue her own self-directed destiny, what does that look like?
The answers Tammy provides are not always pretty, but they are pretty fuckin’ funny. And what more could a savvy gal ask for when spending a holiday weekend at the movies?
Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.