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Tammy: Extended Cut Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD Review

Tammy (2014) movie poster Tammy

Theatrical Release: July 2, 2014 / Running Time: 97 Minutes (theatrical), 101 Minutes (extended) / Rating: R

Director: Ben Falcone / Writers: Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone

Cast: Melissa McCarthy (Tammy Banks), Susan Sarandon (Pearl Balzen), Kathy Bates (Lenore), Allison Janney (Deb Banks), Dan Aykroyd (Don Banks), Mark Duplass (Bobby Tillman), Gary Cole (Earl Tillman), Nat Faxon (Greg), Toni Collette (Missi Jenkins), Sandra Oh (Susanne), Ben Falcone (Keith Morgan), Sarah Baker (Becky), Rich Williams (Larry), Steve Little (Jet Ski Rental Guy)

Buy Tammy from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Extended

Is Melissa McCarthy America's first overweight female movie star? It seems like it. There have not been all that many overweight male movie stars and too many of them -- John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley -- saw their careers cut short. There aren't even all that many female movie stars of any shape these days.
But the past few years have shown that McCarthy is absolutely one of them. Long relegated to supporting roles (the funny fat friend) on television, McCarthy became a leading lady in 2010 on the CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly" about a big-eating couple. But it was her scene-stealing role in Bridesmaids the following year that earned her an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress and announced her as a comic force to reckon with.

McCarthy's star credentials were reinforced on Identity Thief, a winter buddy comedy that soared at the box office despite not being so good. A few months later, McCarthy teamed with Sandra Bullock on another blockbuster buddy comedy, The Heat. Then this summer, McCarthy starred in Tammy, a single-hander she co-wrote with director/husband Ben Falcone. The reviews were terrible and initially the business looked bleak. But the R-rated Tammy held on and wound up grossing $85 million domestically, a solid total that's better than the last movies headlined by Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, and Steve Carell.

It's anyone's guess how long McCarthy can maintain her popularity; at 44, she's already on borrowed time per sexist Hollywood tradition. But for now, she is without question one of the top box office draws of either gender.

In "Tammy", Tammy Banks (Melissa McCarthy) instructs the fast food boss who just fired her to read between the lines.

McCarthy gives us more of the comedic shtick that made her famous in Tammy, holding the title role with gusto. The movie opens with foul-mouthed, unfiltered Tammy driving into a deer, an incident that makes her late for work at the fast food joint Topper Jack's. Her boss (Falcone) fires her, leaving Tammy to come home to find her husband (Nat Faxon) serving a neighbor (Toni Collette) a home-cooked dinner.

Out of work and with her marriage effectively ended, Tammy walks two doors over to the house where her mother (Allison Janney) and grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) live. Pearl has a car and $6,700 in cash, which is enough to sell Tammy on grandmother-granddaughter road trip to realize Pearl's lifelong dream of visiting Niagara Falls.

Hijinks start almost right away, as Tammy and Pearl take a wrong turn and drive perilously through a forest in Missouri. In Louisville, they meet Earl (Gary Cole) and Bobby Tillman (Mark Duplass), father and son farmers who are somehow just right for Pearl and Tammy. An incident at a convenience store lands both women in jail. To bail out the diabetic, alcoholic Pearl, Tammy has to resort to armed robbery of an establishment she knows well: Topper Jack's. Well, the armed part is fake, but the robbery is real. And the act is ultimately unnecessary, as Pearl gets out anyway.

But now, amidst intergenerational bonding, the two ladies go on the lam and wind up attending a lesbian Fourth of July party hosted by Pearl's cousin (Kathy Bates) and her partner (Sandra Oh).

Using bags for a mask and a pretend gun, Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) practices her stick-up skills in a Topper Jack's parking lot.

Tammy is tailored to McCarthy's strengths. The actress and her husband wrote it as a vehicle for her and no one else could play the part as intended. Implied in that observation is the fact that McCarthy is staying in the comfort zone established by her recent hits.
It's tough to fault her for this; she plays the tough, obnoxious mess well and people like when she does. (For something different, she is currently impressing dramatically with her supporting turn in the well-performing indie St. Vincent.) The comedy here isn't always perfectly calculated; the opening animal cruelty gag involving an obviously CG deer is a great example of a scene that won't play well. But most of the time, McCarthy is having fun playing this role and we're having fun watching her.

McCarthy and Falcone try to ground the comedy in some human drama and they do not have the most success. These iffy bits are where the couple's lack of experience behind the camera becomes obvious (besides being his directorial debut, this is her first time writing and his first time writing something other than "The Looney Tunes Show"). If the comedy were funnier, you'd be willing to cut the sometimes clunky drama some slack. Likewise, if the emotional material wasn't as contrived, you'd be more likely to forgive the lack of guffaws. As is, Tammy is still harmless and very watchable. It feels like a lesser work of a successful comedian, like a Beverly Hills Ninja or Just Go With It. But McCarthy seems entitled to a mediocre vehicle, which at least offers something in between a Frat Pack men's romp and a deliberate "women are funny too" Moms' Night Out-type project.

While many critics harped on the formulas and wondered if McCarthy's comedy was starting to show fatigue, I can't overlook the fact that the film almost incidentally assigns rare parts of substance to women of age. Age is an interesting subject for this movie, which casts Janney as McCarthy's mother despite being just 11 years older and Sarandon as McCarthy's grandmother despite being just 24 years older. Tammy perhaps is supposed to be a bit younger than McCarthy, but the math never really works no matter how you slice it and regardless of the fact that this might be Sarandon's first gray-haired performance. Another positive of the film is that it gives likable Mumblecore icon Mark Duplass his biggest stage yet, even if the movie is kind of tentative about making him Tammy's love interest.

Warner brings Tammy to Blu-ray combo pack and DVD today. On Blu-ray, the movie is presented in both its original theatrical cut and a new extended version. The latter runs 3 minutes and 50 seconds longer. The differences are made up by a number of minor changes throughout which have no impact on the MPAA rating; it remains "R for language including sexual references."

Tammy: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

1.78:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English); Theatrical cut only: Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as standalone DVD ($28.98 SRP) and on Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Tammy looks the part of a major studio comedy. The Blu-ray's 1.78:1 element is sharp and vibrant, presenting the often sunny visuals with no imperfections or concerns. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio follows suit with its crisp dialogue and complementary score being clear, well-mixed, and nicely distributed throughout.

Melissa McCarthy and husband/director/co-writer Ben Falcone discuss their family's latest road trip. A ketchup bottle goof prompts the cast to break character and look at the camera in the gag reel.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

In addition to the two edits of the film, the Blu-ray provides a handful of HD video extras.

"Tammy's Road Trip Checklist" (4:28) lets the cast discuss their road trips, especially Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone sharing their experiences of the week-long trip they took with their kids after making the movie.

Next comes a gag reel (3:22), which amuses with outtakes, goofs, and unused improvisations full of contagious laughter.

Tammy teaches a burger joint cashier about suicides (as in a mixture of all soft drinks) in this deleted scene. As usual, Warner keeps the menu simple, setting score to  theatrical poster design artwork.

Four deleted scenes (4:49) are included: two different versions of the same cut Tammy and Pearl strip club outing,

a substantial Tammy-Pearl burger stand lunch order and chat, and an alternate version of the closing hot tub scene.

Finally, a section called Fun Extras holds three shorts: "Poom-O-Rama" (1:44), "Wave-O-Rama" (2:02), and "Mindless Chat-O-Rama" (2:07). They live up to that section title with sharp edits of various takes from Tammy's firing, Tammy's jet-skiing, and the two ladies bantering in the car. There's some decent material, though you can kind of understand the movie not needing it.

Though well under dual-layered capacity, the DVD here, the same one sold separately, includes only the gag reel out of these extras.

The Blu-ray opens with trailers for Horrible Bosses 2 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. The DVD opens with the same, then plays trailers for Into the Storm, The Judge, This Is Where I Leave You, and Jupiter Ascending.

The menu takes Warner's usual approach of attaching score to poster art. It takes a while, but the Blu-ray does allow you to resume unfinished playback of either version of the film.

An insert providing directions and a code for the Digital HD UltraViolet version of the film included with purchase joins the two plain discs inside the slipcovered eco-friendly keepcase.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy, right) and her alcoholic grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) take a road trip together, occasionally as fugitives.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Tammy is a pretty standard affair which never approaches the high points of comedy's much-traversed road trip subgenre. McCarthy treads no new ground, but she entertains frequently enough to keep this from being the dreck many critics claimed.

Warner's satisfying combo pack arrives at just the right time to gift this to fans of the actress and her charming crude shtick.

Buy Tammy from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD DVD / Instant Video: Theatrical Extended


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Reviewed November 11, 2014.



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