Melissa McCarthy

The Weinstein Company

Hey, is there actually any inherent humor to old person / little kid duos? A lot of movies take for granted that they are, but I’m not so sure that’s the case. The latest film to push this old sale is St. Vincent, and the only thing it does to distinguish itself from any other is that Bill Murray is the elder. Murray plays the title character, Vincent. The “saint” part is ironic, since he’s a boozing, gambling, whoring old fart who likes no one and is liked by no one. Or is the “saint” part ironic? Perchance, could there be a heart of gold beating within that saggy bosom? Young Oliver (newcomer Jaeden Lieberher) is poised to find out after Vincent becomes his “babysitter.” Oliver and his newly-divorced mother Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) have just moved next door to Vincent, and Maggie’s job as a nurse keeps her busy at late hours. So the cash-strapped Vincent agrees to watch over Oliver, and of course both theoretically hilarious shenanigans and even more theoretically heartwarming life lessons ensue.

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St. Vincent

This is what dark comedy does — it takes sad situations (impoverishment, alcoholism, horse racing, Naomi Watts doing a really bad accent while also sporting an obviously fake baby bump), and plays them up until they make us laugh, not cry. Ted Melfi‘s St. Vincent looks to be aiming a little to the left of the dramedy mark (in directional comedy speak, that means he’s going a bit too funny with this one) with his debut film, St. Vincent, but at least he’s somewhat in range. The film stars Bill Murray as a character clearly pitched as “what if Clint Eastwood from Gran Torino was actually kinda kicky?” who finds his life turned upside down with the arrival of a new neighbors — sad Melissa McCarthy (is it horrible to comment on how it’s nice to see McCarthy going for just a little bit of pathos for once?) and her very cute son Oliver (newbie Jaeden Lieberher, who looks to be quite charming) into the house next door. Their first introduction isn’t too fun, though, there’s some blood and a big tree limb and lots of confusion, but things change when Murray’s Vincent and Oliver start hanging out together. The twist is, of course, that Vincent doesn’t mix up his all-drinking, all-hemming and hawing, all-horse racing routine once he starts hanging out with the tween. Oopsie. Take a look at the film’s first trailer, which is both very sweet and very clearly trying to be quirky. It’s like Royal Tenenbaum went to California and never looked back.

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Warner Bros.

Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) is having a pretty bad day. Her car is totaled in a hit and run incident with a deer (the animal hit her then ran), she’s fired from her job at a fast food joint and she comes home early to find her husband is cheating on her with a neighbor. Even worse than catching them in bed together she walks in on them enjoying a lovely meal that he cooked — something he never did for Tammy — so she packs a bag and decides to hit the road. It’s a difficult decision to commit to when you don’t have a car, so she reluctantly takes her liquor-loving Grandma Pearl (Susan Sarandon) along for the ride in exchange for a vehicle and a wad of cash. The two head to Niagara Falls, but trouble hits almost immediately forcing Tammy to face her history of bad decisions head-on. Laws will be broken, crotches will be grabbed and things will explode. Tammy is not a great comedy. It’s not even a good one really, and if I had to toss an adjective its way to describe the quality of comedy on display I’d go with “okay.” That’s unfortunate for several reasons, not the least of which being that the film is a collaboration between McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who directed and co-wrote the film with her. The bigger disappointment though is seeing the unusual and appreciated elements of their script and lead character — and the promise of […]

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Melissa McCarthy

There’s something about Melissa McCarthy‘s next feature film that looks just a touch familiar. McCarthy will hit theaters later this summer with a starring role in Tammy, a comedy she also co-wrote alongside her husband Ben Falcone (who happens to be making his directorial debut with the film) that centers on the eponymous Tammy (uh, McCarthy), a perpetual loser who decides to take her life back by hitting the road with her surly grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Hijinks are all but assured, along with violence, misunderstandings, fun adventures, blood, and possibly getting to make out with Mark Duplass, who pops up as a potential love interest with a vast understanding of potato chip catchphrases (dreamy). The film may be an original McCarthy/Falcone joint, but it looks quite a bit like another wild trip comedy that McCarthy starred in just last year — Identity Thief. That film may have had some different aims for its particular road trip (like bringing McCarthy’s baddie thief to justice, and then also learning something along the way, aww), but there’s a shared DNA here that makes Tammy and Identity Thief sure feel like spiritual twins. It’s double feature material! With Jason Bateman and Sarandon kind of playing the same role! Yet, upon deeper reflection, it appears that McCarthy’s love for taking her act literally out on the road isn’t confined to just Tammy and Identify Thief, it goes far deeper than that. Here, take a look at the latest television spot for Tammy for a start, and we’ll go from there.

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trailer tammy

I’d be lying if I said I was excited at the prospect of a new comedy featuring Melissa McCarthy in a lead role. She’s far better in small doses where her very specific comedic style can hit and run before viewers can grow weary of the same old shtick involving attitude, crass behavior, and physical comedy derived from her large frame. This “character” is essentially what she plays again and again, with little deviation, and while it’s not nearly as insufferable as the ones recycled by the likes of Adam Sandler and Kevin James, it still doesn’t work at feature length. Then again, Identity Thief and The Heat were box-office hits and numbers one and two (respectively) on RedBox’s list of most rented titles in 2013, so what the hell do I know. McCarthy’s (sure to be) blockbuster comedy of 2014 has just gotten a first teaser trailer, and while it’s still early, this may end up being where I eat my words above. Tammy stars McCarthy as a woman having a terrifically bad day. She lost her job, found her husband cheating on her, and smashed her car, and she just wants out. Unfortunately, the only out she has is a road trip with a grandmother (Susan Sarandon) she just doesn’t like all that much. It also stars Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates, Mark Duplass, and Allison Janney. Check out the teaser below and see if you enjoy it as much as I did. I know, I’m surprised too.

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gravity-sandra-bullock-10

Following the announcement of any year’s Oscar nominations, the search for records and other interesting trivia among the contenders is expected. One of this year’s most notable findings has to be that the 86th Academy Awards has broken the record for average age among the best actress nominees: 55. That’s not just interesting, it’s possibly even important. For all that’s said about Hollywood favoring young women and how actresses’ careers are done by the time they reach 40, this could be used as further evidence that older ladies are not unwelcome on the big screen. But is it really relevant to the businesspeople in Hollywood that the leading actresses of prestige pictures are veering older, their average this year being even higher than the best actor contenders (47)? The true measure for whether last year’s movies prove that not older women but women in general deserve more respect in the film industry is instead with the box office. And, well, the grosses of the nominated movies is pretty notable in this case, too. Thanks mostly to Gravity, the average domestic take for the movies nominated in the best actress category is $90M compared to that of the best actor nominees’ $34M. Nearly three times as much.

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tatum

UPDATED: The Playlist shares that this story has now been debunked. Boo. Recently Cinema Blend was invited to join director Paul Feig at a dinner meant to serve the boring purpose of promoting the release of Feig’s latest comedy, The Heat, on home video. Fortunately for us, their intrepid reporter refused to let an interesting opportunity slip away while talk stuck solely on director’s commentaries and gag reels, and instead managed to turn the focus of conversation to things Feig will be doing in the future. A couple of juicy tidbits were revealed. First off, Feig spilled the beans that Jason Statham was going to be appearing in that upcoming movie about a female secret agent he’s making that’s starring Melissa McCarthy. You know, the one that used to be called Susan Cooper? From the sound of it, Statham is probably just going to be playing a small part though, and one that comedically undercuts his status as a macho superhero, so that didn’t end up being the part of the conversation that was all that exciting. The exciting part was when the director revealed what he has planned for Channing Tatum.

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mccarthy

So far Melissa McCarthy has seen her biggest big screen successes, both critically and commercially, come from her collaborations with director Paul Feig. It was his use of her in Bridesmaids that really broke her as a comedic actress, and it was her recent pairing with Sandra Bullock in The Heat that gave her a starring role that didn’t get torn apart by critics. The partnership has worked out pretty well for Feig too. He used to be known primarily as a television director, but now that his latest two features have both proven to be profitable, he finds himself settling into what’s likely to be a more lucrative gig as the director of big studio comedies. So it just makes sense that the two should keep working together. According to a report from The Wrap, their next collaboration is likely to come in the form of a spy comedy called Susan Cooper, which Feig has written the screenplay for and is looking to make his next project as a director. Their sources say that, while nothing is yet official, McCarthy is currently in talks to become the central figure of what the studio hopes will be a franchise-launcher.

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mr smith and mccarthy

This week was shortened, business-wise, by the holiday honoring America’s birthday and independence, but that didn’t stop us. We’re not the lazy side of this nation. We’re the part that truly represents what the Founding Fathers wished for 237 years ago. We were the best we could be. And we gave you readers as much great original content as we might have had it been a full work week. It helped that this was the beginning of the month, so we have Jack’s usual preview of the weeks ahead in recommended releases, and it was also the close of the first half of the year, so we had a couple features looking at the past six months in movies. We’re so positive! We also saw the box office branding of a new movie star,  the return of a genre, the false return of another genre, the inauguration of a new column on movie truth and a look at recent music documentaries and a new fake reality series. And it’s all highlighted below for your recapping, catching up enjoyment. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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Melissa McCarthy

Well, turns out that Melissa McCarthy is bankable, and not just as an amusing bit player (though she can do that) or an Emmy-winning television actress (yup, she did that, too) or as a scene-stealing supporting actress (even though she does that, and particularly did that while also stealing puppies), but as an honest-to-goodness comedy star. Not sure about that, are you? What if we told you that McCarthy is now a half-billion-dollar star, co-starring in just five films in the past two years that have racked up more than five hundred million dollars at the domestic box office alone? McCarthy’s latest starring film, The Heat, is currently estimated to have pulled in a tidy $40m at the weekend box office, which brings McCarthy’s domestic box office haul since her breakout role in Bridesmaids to a cool $521m (including Bridesmaids, This is 40, Identity Thief, The Hangover Part III, and The Heat). With The Heat going like a house on fire, that number will only rise (numbers do tend to that, after all). McCarthy’s global box office success from those same five films currently stands at just over $928m, with The Heat not yet even open in overseas markets, suggesting that McCarthy’s total take will soon surpass $1b. What we’re saying is, yes, she’s bankable, and she’s especially bankable when she gets to flex her comedic chops alongside other funny ladies (like Bridesmaids’ Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph or her excellent cohort in The Heat, the also-notoriously-bankable Sandra Bullock). Women […]

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review heat

In 2011, Paul Feig‘s Bridesmaids became a break out hit. Feig had mostly been known as a TV director up until that point (so we won’t remind you about Unaccompanied Minors). That’s not meant as a put down in any way, the man worked on some great shows like The Office and Arrested Development, but Bridesmaids was bigger than anything he’d done before. It was a rare animal indeed, an R-rated comedy with a predominantly female cast. But it worked and now Feig is back with his take on the buddy cop comedy starring two women in the lead roles instead of men. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. There’s this cop right? And he’s hot-headed and crude, hates authority and refuses to play by the rules. And then he ends up getting partnered with this totally straight-laced dude, a real square, I mean the guy may as well wear a pocket protector. So, of course, they hate each other. Despite their polar opposite approaches they’re both great cops. But trying to work together, they’re at each others throats to the point that their bosses are fed up. This work complication happens around the same time that the two dudes realize they have more in common than they think…in fact, they may actually like each other. Kicked off the case and on the outs, their only option is to put their differences aside and solve the case together. This is the plot of pretty much every buddy cop […]

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melissa-mccarthy

What is Casting Couch? A column full of casting news that today includes stories on Emma Watson, Adam Sandler, Idris Elba, Liam Hemsworth, and Christina Hendricks. How’s that for an eclectic crew? Hopefully by the time the ubiquitous and centuries long ad campaign for The Heat finally draws to a close, the world won’t be too sick of Melissa McCarthy to go see anymore of her movies. She really is a versatile talent, so it would be a shame to see Hollywood wear out her welcome by shoving her down our throats in the crude loudmouth role until we retch from it. But perhaps her taking a voice acting role in an animated movie could help cleanse the palate. Deadline is reporting that she’s just signed on to talk into a microphone for Dreamworks’ B.O.O (Bureau of Otherworldy Operations), joining Seth Rogen as one of the leads. They’ll be playing partnered up agents who work for a government agency meant to protect humanity from evil spirits, which sounds like R.IP.D., only tons better.

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Bill Murray

What is Casting Couch? It’s the surveyor of all that is casting. Today we’ve got joyous news about more incredible actors joining Animal Rescue and sad news about Emma Watson dropping out of some promising projects. Get ready, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster.

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Identity Thief Movie

Despite being panned by critics (including here), Identity Thief scored big at the box office and with fans. Seth Gordon‘s comedy starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman earned $36.6m through the weekend against limited competition. The only other wide release was Steven Soderbergh’s final film (until we coax him out of retirement), Side Effects, which was in 500 fewer theaters and scored $10m. Warm Bodies dropped to the #2 spot with $11.5m, only $1.9m worth of people wanted to see Top Gun re-released in 3D, and the Oscar-nominated The Gatekeepers won the highest per theater average this weekend with over $14k in 3 theaters. Identity Thief has a production budget listed as $35m, so the numbers here are solid and point it directly toward never-ending syndication on TBS. It’s probably not surprising, but the number one movie also earned a massive disparity between critics and audiences, so it’ll be interesting to see if it can maintain its good will going into next weekend where only Die Hard, A Good Day to and a few indies led by the titanic Nicholas Sparks’ Romance Train await crowds looking for something to do between inhaling heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. For those who enjoyed Identity Thief, screenwriter Craig Mazin recently spoke about it on Broken Projector, and he’ll be back on the show this Friday to go through four pages of the script from conception to production. Plus, Gordon spoke with us about aiming to please audiences, something that the director seems to have pulled off here. [Box Office Mojo]

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Seth Gordon

Director Seth Gordon made a big splash in 2007 with The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Since its release he has made three more features, Four Christmases, Horrible Bosses, and Identity Thief. An obvious tie between all these films, as well as the Academy Award-winning doc he produced, Undefeated, is a crowd-pleasing quality. Gordon wants to appeal to anyone he can with his studio comedies, and with his newest movie, Identity Thief, he faced his greatest challenge in doing so. Anyone can jump onboard with the wish-fulfillment of killing their boss, but can millions of people do the same for a criminal who ruins people’s lives? As long as that criminal is Melissa McCarthy, as Gordon tells us, they can.

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Identity Thief

Identity Thief has more than a few good things going for it: it boasts a funny and talented cast, it features some amusing comedic chemistry between its two leads, and it has a plot that’s both rooted in the real world and ripe for some amusing and wacky cinematic hijinks. And yet, Seth Gordon‘s latest squanders every bit of promise it has to its name, with the final product ringing up as a mostly laughless, morally questionable, and wholly unoriginal pile of boring trash. The film is purely formulaic – the sort of comedy where you can see every beat (especially the “emotional” ones) from a mile way and nothing is capable of surprise. To be sure, there are “shocking” moments – sequences of violence, poorly considered sexual escapades, and even one hell of a car accident – but none of that jolts because it’s sharp or smart or interesting, it’s all sort of stagey, like the comedic version of a horror film jump scare. What’s most grating about Identity Thief is that it’s such a tremendous waste of time for everyone involved – from stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy to the very audience paying to watch it. Save your money. Keep your credit cards in your pocket. Stay home.

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the-heat-movie

Here comes the best way to start your Thursday morning: Melissa McCarthy and her gratuitous yet creative use of the f-word. It comes in the form of the new red band trailer for Paul Feig’s The Heat, his follow-up to Bridesmaids and Sandra Bullock‘s raunchy lost sequel to Miss Congeniality. Bullock is the straight man, an FBI lady who plays by the rules. McCarthy is a rough-and-tumble cop who grew up on da streets. Together, they seem like a ridiculous pair. Ridiculously fun to watch, that is.

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Identity Thief

Given the fact that Identity Thief stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise that its first trailer was full of laughs. But what kind of came out of nowhere was how many cars got crashed in it and how much serious physical trauma Bateman and McCarthy endured during just two minutes of footage. It got to the point where it started to look like they were starring in an action movie. The second trailer that just got released for the film doesn’t do anything to contradict that notion either. As a matter of fact, it gives us another scene where McCarthy gets hit by a car, and one where she gets her head smacked against a passenger seat window; and that’s in addition to the part where Bateman hits her with an acoustic guitar. Is it possible that this year’s rekindling of the Three Stooges franchise was so inspiring to people that it’s going to usher in a full-on slapstick revival in comedy?

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The Heat Trailer

Entertainment doesn’t necessarily have to be original to be good. Sometimes things get used over and over again because they make sense and just work. Tried and true, the expression is. This is good news for Paul Feig’s (Bridesmaids) new film, The Heat, because, while its new trailer makes it look like it’s probably going to be a good time in the theater, it also doesn’t seem to have an original bone in its body. What Feig has given us appears to be typical buddy cop fare, where a straight-laced officer gets partnered up with a loose cannon, and while there’s an initial period of friction, eventually they end up bonding. It casts Sandra Bullock in the frigid shrew role that she knows so well, Melissa McCarthy in the role of the slovenly loudmouth that she’s been continually revisiting ever since Bridesmaids, and it seems to follow the usual formula right down to the letter. Heck, this trailer even uses that M.IA. song, “Bad Girls,” that’s already appeared in ads for For a Good Time Call and TV’s The Mindy Project, and that’s starting to feel played out. But, you know what? It’s using that song because it has the sort of hook that sells movies.

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Identify Thief Movie

Skipping all the nonsense of Face/Off, Melissa McCarthy becomes Jason Bateman in Identity Thief with a far simpler method: she steals his credit card information. Why didn’t John Woo think of that? From Seth Gordon (King of Kong, Horrible Bosses), the movie focuses on a man named Sandy who confronts the Florida woman who steals his identity and lives large on his dime. The trailer looks absolutely hilarious, giving just a hint at the raw craziness that the movie embraces. Check it out for yourself:

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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