Saturday, 16 July 2016

Melissa McCarthy's Comedy Film Ranking


Melissa McCarthy is probably my favourite comedy actor/actress in the industry; everything from her timing to her improv is very often absolutely hilarious and never short of a small chuckle - whatever film I have seen her in, the laughs come quick and fast, and even on the occasion where her full potential isn't quite met, I'm still happy to watch her give it her all for her performances.

In prepration for Ghostbusters, which I hope to watch and review over the weekend, I've rewatched McCarthy's six latest big studio releases and attempted to rank them with some coherency and logic, based on how enjoyable, funny and memorable they are. It's a difficult task, because even the 'weakest' is definitely watchable, but be sure to let me know whether you agree and your own ranking of the films.



6. Tammy

Certainly not a terrible film, Tammy has moments of absolute promise and potential (most notably, Tammy's hilarious siege of the burger restaurant, which McCarthy absolutely sells for every penny its worth, as well as the opening sequence). As with each and every film with her name in light, she is the life and soul of the party, unwavering in her 'give it all you've got' approach which rarely goes unnoticed. Sarah Baker as Becky is another hilarious addition in just a fleeting few appearances and I would love to see the two act alongside each other again in the future.

Aside from McCarthy's general hilarity, Tammy has very little to offer in terms of plot, character or originality and very conventionally takes the 'road trip' narrative that holds little weight throughout. It feels very much like the film is simply a vehicle to move from set piece to set piece, which in themselves aren't as sharp and witty as I have come to expect. It's very jumbled and lacks coherency

Summary: Tammy is jumbled and lacks coherency but Melissa McCarthy proves that she can just about save any movie with her engaging screen presence and general hilarity.

(5/10)



5. Identity Thief

Despite generally terrible reviews, I thought Identity Thief was an absolute chuckle from start to finish, and right next to the continual comedy was a surprising sense of heart and emotion. Yes, it is completely and utterly over the top but McCarthy and Jason Bateman's chemistry win the day. It's McCarthy's pathos she brings to Diana that sets this star vehicle out from the countless other comedies, playing out the physical comedy equally as strongly as the emotional heft of the pairs dinner table honestly and eventual escape as we near the end of the film.

The film does run into problems in terms of the supposed 'villains' of the piece who are pretty much unneeded and it always feels like one too many - the two co-stars could perfectly handle the entire film on their own - and its always frustrating not having the pair on screen. The highlights come thick and fast from the use of Cher Lloyd's Swagger Jagger as Diana waltzes out of the hairdressers to the pair stopping for dinner at a motel and creating an utterly unbelievable story to the waitress.

Summary: Identity Thief is a hilarious film with a surprising sense of emotion, sparked by McCarthy and Bateman's sensational chemistry but the film really lacks when they are off screen for too long.

(7.5/10)





 4. The Heat

McCarthy's foul-mothered Mullins and Sandra Bullock's uptight Ashburn eventually work as a fantastic team, solidified by the sensational chemistry between the pair that becomes the film's true selling point. This buddy comedy once again balances comedy with real, human, emotional stakes and employs a sense of urgency that encourages us to invest in these characters and their lives.

Fuelled by a number of interesting set pieces and set ups, the film caught lightning in a bottle in deciding the two leads, who make an interesting and engaging dynamic by being so polar opposite; the co-stars are pretty much a match made in comedic heaven and truly work in contrasting the other and striking the perfect balance. They are, however, at their best when they are allowed to improv, marked by a montage mid-way through where the two head to a shady bar and dance all night. It is also refreshing to see an R-Rated/15 certified trailer than embraces its more gruesome moments and feels like comedy going down its own path. It may be a little foul-mouthed for some but the majority will see this as a rip-roaring success.

Summary: The Heat is entirely successful based off the excellent chemistry between McCarthy and Bullock, which scores laugh after laugh despite its potentially formulaic premise of mis-matched cops.

(8/10)


3. Bridemaids

This is a comedy based more on the ensemble, but one woman steals the show with some McCarthy magic. Everything she did was absolutely incredible and hilarious and we owe it to the film for making her the breakout star she is, but McCarthy's Megan simply does not feature enough. I understand fully that she is simply designed and intended as a supporting character but stealing the scene in everyone she is in, only causes us to anticipate her next appearance. Maybe more frequent appearances would push it one or two more spots higher...

The ensemble cast is generally very strong - Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Bryne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Elle Kemper - all make an excellent team, with the incredible dynamics between each of them explored throughout but stealing the show when you arguably shouldn't makes us invest a little less in the central storyline (while still entertaining, it leans a little far towards the 'romantic' side for me - but then again, if the title didn't give it away...). Particularly standout moments of the film include Megan stealing all the puppies, the airplane scene using everyone to the best of their abilities, Megan taking the girls to that restaurant and the ensuing bridal store apocalypse... So so many hilarious moments.

Summary: Bridesmaid's ensemble is unwaveringly strong but Melissa McCarthy's Megan steals the show and is arguably the actresses' strongest and most lovable character to date.

(8/10)




2. The Boss

This may surprise a lot of people, as the film opened earlier this year to a poor reception and weaker (than usual) box office receipts, but I truly found it hilarious. Bearing in mind I have only watched it once so far, weeks later I still find myself chuckling over various moments in script and even when it wasn't scoring belly laughs, it more than certainly did enough to make you smile and enjoy yourself. Relentless in her delivery, Michelle Darnell was brought to life entirely by the star and while I do question the film's success without her, it is thankfully, not a thought we had to dwell on too hard.

Various set pieces worked better than others and while the final act was bogged down a little in unneeded emotional stakes that is rarely as compelling as Darnell self-tanning or taking down a mob of children, it remains a relatively light-hearted comedy and another glorious character to add to McCarthy's growing CV.

FULL REVIEW

Summary: Melissa McCarthy is absolutely The Boss, adding another notch to her belt of impressive comedy and hilarious characters, registering in the higher end of her filmography, despite what reviewers would make you believe.

(8/10)



1. Spy

I say this completely honestly - I don't think I stopped laughing throughout Spy. McCarthy and director Paul Feig have always proven to be such a stellar and consistent team throughout their work together but this time they have added a whole collection of amusing people to really emphasise their efforts. It's a culmination of the spy genre and the comedy genre and works equally as well whichever way you look at it, spoofing the former without over-egging the latter. The hilarious comedy is willingly balanced by some of the scripts more touching moments and the subtle and profound message is quite a revelation.

Miranda Hart, Jude Law and Rose Bryne are particularly enjoyable additions to the McCarthy-Feig duo but this is most certainly a showcase for the main star and gives her a shot at more physical comedy, which she truly excels at. Helped by the ricocheting setting, the film feels incredibly fresh and exciting all the way through and like nothing we have seen before, setting a new benchmark for comedy. If one of these films calls out for a sequel, it is most certainly this one (but I would not be opposed to a Megan Bridesmaids spin-off...)

FULL REVIEW


Summary: Uproariously funny and a brilliant showcase of Melissa McCarthy's talent, Spy is one of her strongest offerings to date and certainly the most hilarious comedy of 2015, uniting two genres in a unified piece that works incredibly well by being consistently funny and enjoyable.

★★★★★★★★★✬ 
(9.5/10)


Soon enough, I will know how Ghostbuster shapes up against these offerings but if it is anything like what we have come to know - especially of the McCarthy-Feig collaboration - we really are in for a treat with the remake. As we can see, Melissa McCarthy is building quite the reputable comedy filmography and I cannot wait to see 'busters and beyond.

This list is subject to change, of course, (the middle section could have literally gone in any order and I changed it multiple times during the write up of this list) so be sure to let me know how you rank them in the comment section below, and pop back for the GB review in the coming days.

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