In 'Tammy,' Melissa McCarthy returns to Midwestern roots

Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:51pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

BEVERLY HILLS Calif. (Reuters) - Melissa McCarthy, a comedian best recognized for her full-throated and dim-witted style, stays close to home and character in "Tammy," a Midwestern road trip that provides comic relief in a summer season largely dominated by apocalyptic action.

Co-written with her husband, Ben Falcone, who also makes his directorial debut, the film tells the story of McCarthy's Tammy, a coarse fast-food worker who loses her job, car and husband in an evening, and rashly takes off on a road trip with her hard-drinking grandmother Pearl, played by Susan Sarandon.

"It's a love letter to the Midwest about someone who wants to leave the Midwest," said Falcone.

"But we mean it nicely," McCarthy interjected alongside her husband ahead of the film's Wednesday release.

"Tammy," distributed by Warner Bros., plays on the isolation and landscape of rural mid-America that both McCarthy, 43, and Falcone, 40, fled after growing up in small-town Illinois.

"I was ready to go," Falcone said about his hometown of Carbondale. "And then I leave and I'm like, 'We should write a movie about the good old Midwest.'"

Broke, unloved and attention-starved, Tammy reluctantly takes grandma Pearl on her journey because Pearl has the car and enough cash to survive.

The problem is grandma Pearl is nearly as much trouble as what Tammy just fled, boozing and chasing men through Missouri and Kentucky before Tammy decides to hold up a fast-food joint so she can bail Pearl from county jail.   Continued...

Actress Melissa McCarthy arrives at the 19th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards in Santa Monica, California January 16, 2014.    REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian