Dreadful Duo

Tammy: written by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone; directed by Ben Falcone; starring Melissa McCarthy (Tammy), Susan Sarandon (Pearl), Kathy Bates (Lenore), Alison Janney (Deb), Dan Aykroyd (Don), Mark Duplass (Bobby), and Gary Cole (Earl) (2014): This is the sort of comedy that appeared in John Candy’s film career far too frequently — which is to say, terrible and gormless about how to use an overweight comic actor.

But the punchline is that unlike Candy, Melissa McCarthy co-wrote her film with her husband, who also directs. And it’s terrible stuff. The casting is great, especially of all the female parts, though those not wasted by bad writing are wasted by a lack of lines (Toni Collette and Alison Janney in the latter case). 

Some moments of slapstick and verbal comedy work, enough to keep one watching, and the second half of the film is a marked improvement on the first half. McCarthy needs better material. What’s weird is that apparently she needs to find someone other than herself or her husband to exploit her potential. Not recommended.

Deliver Us from Evil: ‘inspired’ and adapted from the book by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool by Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman; directed by Scott Derrickson; starring Eric Bana (Sergeant Sarchie), Edgar Ramirez (Father Mendoza), Olivia Munn (Jen Sarchie), and Joel McHale (Detective Butler) (2014): Real-life person-type Ralph Sarchie is indeed a real former NYPD cop turned paranormal investigator. He comes from the school of the Warrens (remember the ‘real’ investigators in The Conjuring?), which means that charitably speaking, I don’t believe a word of his paranormal adventures.

However, as a quick perusal of the IMDB page for this movie reveals, this film, ‘inspired by actual case files,’ is pretty much entirely fictional anyway. The case that Sarchie, still a cop, and Father Mendoza find themselves investigating has been invented whole-cloth by the film-makers so as to give Sarchie an exciting origin story. I’m assuming they were hoping for a Conjuring-level hit and a subsequent series of Sarchie-centric horror movies. No such luck. I hope.

As casting decisions go, this is a comedy of errors. Eric Bana struggles mightily to play a New York cop, Olivia Munn seems to have wandered in from another movie, Edgar Martinez lacks all plausibility as a sexy, “undercover” (the character’s word, not mine) Roman Catholic priest, and Joel McHale plays Joel McHale playing a wise-cracking cop in what may be a dream sequence from Community. Many major concepts, including the Iraqi origin of the demons, are simply lifted from The Exorcist.

Most hilariously, the film-makers apparently are a-scared of The Doors. Doors music and lyrics show up repeatedly as elements in the various horrors being perpetrated by the demons. Is Satan a Doors fan? Is he sitting on the bus sucking on a humbug? I have no idea. This is dreadful, stupid horror. Not recommended.

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