Tammy

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Tammy Movie Poster Image
Uneven, mean buddy comedy about family and identity.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 96 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

You have the power to change the course of your life. Complaining about things won't get you anywhere; you'll only be standing in your own way.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite her flaws, Tammy has a way of finding the good in herself, even if she forgets it sometimes. Her grandmother isn't always able to control her predilections, though she cares about Tammy a lot and is sometimes able to show it. And Pearl is also able to make amends for her mistakes. Bobby is a kind, gentle guy who doesn't judge Tammy. 

Violence

A car and a Jet Ski are both dosed with kerosene and torched. A woman pretends to be carrying a gun and holds up a store. A woman goes ballistic at the fast food place where she works and starts wiping her saliva on the burger buns. A woman drunkenly belittles her adult grandchild in front of an audience.

Sex

Some kissing. An older couple fools around in the back seat of a car; no nudity, but the car is shown shaking. A woman speaks openly to her adult grandchild about her sex life.

Language

Frequent very strong language, including "f--k, "motherf--ker," "s--t," "goddammit," and much more. Also strong sexual terms/language.

Consumerism

Some name brands are mentioned, including Cheetos, Lays, Klondike, and Toyota Corolla.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One main character is an alcoholic who gets ugly when she's drunk, doing things like belittling someone in public. She offers a beer to someone who's driving and downs whisky like it's water. She also relies on OxyCodone to get through the day.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tammy is an irreverent, uneven buddy comedy that's heavy on depressing moments, primarily because the main character (Melissa McCarthy) seems lost and bears the brunt of the film's jokes. Even her grandmother (Susan Sarandon) forgets that she has feelings. It may be too bitter a pill for tweens and young teens. There's also lots of swearing (including everything from "dammit" to "motherf--ker") and drinking; one character is an alcoholic who behaves cruelly when she's drunk and also relies on prescription drugs obtained illegally. It's implied that a couple has sex in the back of a car; nothing sensitive is shown, but the car rocks. Also sexual language/references/discussions.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymardoggie2013 November 20, 2014
Parent of a 13 year old Written byKimM 3 December 5, 2014
Kid, 12 years old July 6, 2014
Teen, 16 years old Written byiPunk July 2, 2014

Tammy has a bad role model

Kids need good role models. Tammy's grandmother was not a good role model for her. And I think it rubbed off on Tammy. Tammy gets fired from her job, and t... Continue reading

What's the story?

TAMMY is at the lowest of low points: She just lost her job at the fast food restaurant Topper Jack, only to come home to discover her husband having a romantic dinner with their neighbor. Enraged, Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) joins forces with her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon), an alcoholic who's sick of living with her own grown child, and leaves her small town to head for Niagara Falls, a place that Pearl has always wanted to see in person. But along the way, several snafus erupt, one involving a heist.

Is it any good?

Frankly, this movie's a mess. If Tammy reminds you of a certain film about two women who take to the open road on a search for their authentic selves, you aren't alone; this really should have been titled Tammy and Louise, a not-so-big leap considering that Sarandon plays a similar "agitator" part in both films. The big difference is that Thelma and Louise was complex and had depth. But with Tammy, you get the idea that the filmmakers just wanted to see how many jokes McCarthy and the rest of the cast could make, never mind that some of them were duds (and make cruel fun of the main character). The writing veers from earnest to downright mean, with little notice of where the mood could swing at any given time. You'll find yourself laughing, then suddenly cringing.

Buddy comedies work when there's chemistry and rapport between the two buddies. Tammy and Pearl are like oil and water, and their relationship and -- more important -- their subsequent bonding, doesn't feel rooted in anything relatable. Neither are the supposed romances they start up on the road.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about comedies with unpleasant/unsympathetic lead characters. What's the appeal/point? Does it work for this movie? If not, why?

  • Why can't Tammy get it together? Why doesn't she stand up for herself after someone puts her down? Is being forgiving a flaw?

  • Is anyone in this movie a role model? Why or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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