Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recent at-home movie releases, which we’ve watched from the comfort of that favorite recliner.
It all falls on Melissa McCarthy’s broad comedic bravado to carry this film. Sure, Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates come along for the ride, but they’re merely soundboards for McCarthy to bounce her character’s idiocy off of. If the movie consisted of the misadventures of McCarthy as Tammy, it would’ve probably been hilarious. But McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone chose instead to write a coming-of-age story for a fired fast-food worker with a crumbling marriage. Falcone also directs, and it’s uneven at best. Half of the film is goofy and fun. Half of the film searches to find a heart under silly antics. It ruins its own party. “Tammy” makes you laugh, then bums you out, and then asks you to laugh again two seconds later. In other words, “Tammy” is bipolar. In the end, there are less laughs and more forced melodrama – pass.
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz reunite for another R-rated comedy with a high raunchy quotient. Their other pairing was 2011’s “Bad Teacher.” Both were directed by Jake Kasdan. Some may remember Kasdan as being responsible for a diverse set of comedies throughout his career – “Zero Effect” (1998), “Orange County” (2002) and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” (2007). You might think this film was going to be a smart or interesting take on the use of new media devices being incorporated into sex lives. You might think it has something to say about the manipulation of personal moments for public arousal. But you’d be wrong on both counts. All this film gives us are provocative shots of Diaz and a bunch of high-jinks as the couple try to stop their home video from being seen. There are memorable moments, mostly involving Rob Corddry and an incredible scene with a coked-up Rob Lowe. But this one is barely worth a watch.
Actress Jenny Slate has spent most of her career being a costar and bit player. Now, she gets her chance at a starring role, playing a standup comedienne deciding whether or not to have an abortion. It’s a heavy subject, but Slate really owns the part. She offers plenty of stage charisma in the scenes when she’s doing standup, and when she’s offstage, her performance feels vulnerable, still and damaged as she struggles to figure life out. Her supporting cast, led by Jake Lacy and Gaby Hoffmann, offer plenty of assistance, tossing up dialogue for Slate to blast sarcastic one-liners at. Longtime, controversial standup comedian David Cross shows up for a scene-stealing cameo. Writer/director Gillian Robespierre’s turns her short film into a debut feature film that’s full of subtle heart and makes taboo subjects funny. It might not be an obvious pick, but you should pick it all the same because it’s worth a watch.
Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge