Duets: Tammy and Deliver Us from Evil

dufe

The warning signs were all there: low percentages on Rotten Tomatoes, poor scores on IMDb, less than favorable reviews from my fellow bloggers…but I went anyway. And neither of these films was worth the ticket price (and I only paid four bucks for one of them). Prepare yourselves, my friends—these might be my saddest Duets reviews yet. Here we go…

Tammy

tammy

Synopsis: “After losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, a woman hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother.” –www.imdb.com

The High Notes:

  • Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon. As the title character, McCarthy is, as we all know, a natural comedian, but it’s nice to see Sarandon in a comedic role, too—especially as Tammy’s fiery grandmother, Pearl. I think the two work well together, and I actually found their more dramatic moments together to be some of the better parts of the film.
  • McCarthy and Mark Duplass. Playing Tammy’s would-be love interest, Bobby, Duplass (whom I don’t think I’ve ever seen in anything else before) gives a nice, natural performance, and I think he and McCarthy have great chemistry. The relationship starts off rocky, but the longer they’re around one another, the more they like each other (and the more we like them, too).
  • The all-star cast. I had not realized how familiar faces were in this. I addition to McCarthy and Sarandon, we’ve got Kathy Bates, Sandra Oh, Allison Janey, Dan Aykroyd, Gary Cole, and Toni Collette. Unfortunately, none of them get a ton of screen time, but it’s fun just to see them and have that moment of “Hey! I know you!”

The Low Notes:

  • For a good portion of the film, Tammy and Pearl are huge a-holes. Seriously, for a while, I didn’t know if I was going to like them at all. And when they do finally change, it’s so sudden that it’s pretty unbelievable, which is something I can blame on the next point.
  • The writing. It’s just…not great. And that is a damn shame since McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, are the writers. The story is way too rushed at the beginning, the humor becomes repetitive, plot points become predictable…I could go on, but I’ll resist. For two people who seem to understand comedy so well, they sure do have a hard time writing it.
  • Though she does a good job, McCarthy is playing the same character she plays in everything, and I’m getting tired of it. Because I know she’s better than that. I saw glimpses of a great dramatic actress in here, and, frankly, I think she needs to cool it on comedies for a while and give that route a try. Or at least play a different kind of comedic character. I really, really don’t want her to end up being the female version of Zach Galifianakis (no offense, bro).

The Staccato Version: Tammy could’ve been a fun, hilarious movie. Instead, it’s jumbled and bland, providing surprisingly few truly funny moments. Big names are wasted and McCarthy plays the same characters she has played since her breakout role in Bridesmaids. It’s not terrible, I suppose, but you can’t help shaking your head at what could have been.

My Grade: C-

Deliver Us from Evil

dufe 1

Synopsis: “NY police officer Ralph Sarchie investigates a series of crimes. He joins forces with an unconventional priest, schooled in the rituals of exorcism, to combat the possessions that are terrorizing their city.” –www.imdb.com

The High Notes:

  • Joel McHale as Sarchie’s partner, Butler. I’m not gonna lie, I had serious doubts about McHale working in a horror film, but he does what he does best: he makes people laugh. He is the comic relief, and he is great at it. Frankly, I was anxious to see him again every time he was off screen. Also, can I just say how impressed I am at how badass he looks? I mean, just look at the guy with his muscles and his tats! When did that happen?!
  • Édgar Ramírez as Hot Priest. I’m sorry, did I say Hot Priest? I meant Hot Priest. Wait, that’s still not right…Okay, okay—he plays unconventional priest Mendoza. He just so happens to be hot. And a bad boy. Who knew priests could be bad boys? Actually, he vaguely reminded me of Father Karras from The Exorcist (which I talk about a little here and Alex Raphael reviews here), which is not a bad name to be attached to.
  • I will say this for director/writer Scott Derrickson: he knows how to set a scary atmosphere. He manages to cram all the unsettling spookiness of a sprawling haunted house into tiny New York apartments, and it works.

The Low Notes:

  • Is it just me or is Eric Bana as Sarchie…not great? I guess I can’t blame it all on him; his character in general is not very likeable and not well developed, and his dialogue sometimes sucks. One of my biggest problems with him is the fact that he appears to have zero chemistry with Olivia Munn, who plays his wife, Jen. They have a pretty clichéd strained marriage—you know, the “cop married more to his job than his wife” type. But from their performances, I barely even believe they like each other, let alone believing the whole “married with a kid” bit.
  • This film relies heavily on two things: gross-outs and jump scares. Unfortunately, neither of these grants DUFE nearly enough substance, which leaves it feeling fairly bland. Next to nothing stands out as unique or fresh. It has the potential to go somewhere interesting with a few of the threads, but it misses those opportunities at every turn.
  • Sometimes I even laughed at this film when I clearly wasn’t supposed to. Never, ever a good sign for a horror.

The Staccato Version: Sadly, DUFE turned out to be exactly what I feared: a 100% meh horror. McHale’s comedic relief is great, and Ramírez is more memorable than a typical horror film priest (and not just because he’s excellent eye candy, though that doesn’t hurt), but this is just nothing special. We may be delivered from evil, but we are not yet delivered from this dry spell of good horrors. For better or worse, Oculus is still the one to beat this year.

My Grade: C

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39 thoughts on “Duets: Tammy and Deliver Us from Evil

  1. I cannot comment on Tammy as of yet but I actually enjoyed Deliver Us From Evil. It is not excellent and could have been way better yet it did its job for the most part. Entertained and scared the living hell out of the jam-packed theater I was in. One friend had to cover her face whilst the other slept on my couch because he was too scared to go home. It did have some unintentional laughs and a boring family angle but I thought Sarchie was great. Have you ever heard the real guy talk? Bana and the character is spot on! The guy is not very likable in real life either haha.

    • Louie! Hey, friend! Well, I’m glad you liked this one more than I did, anyway. Your theater was definitely more in the spirit than mine–people in mine laughed more than screamed. Hahaha. I have not heard Sarchie. I’ll have to look him up!

  2. I’ve only just realised you have a musical theme here! Duets, staccatto, serenade, i feel smart now! Also:

    “I barely even believe they like each other, let alone believing the whole “married with a kid” bit.”

    Doesn’t that make it like most marriages

  3. I had high hopes for DUFE. While watching the TV spot there was a brief loud burst of static and grey squiggly lines which freaked me out and I thought it was a brilliant marketing tactic for a scary movie until I realized it was just my TV connection going bonkers lol. Thanks for the heads up, I’ll go with your recommendation of Oculus instead.

    • LOL! That would’ve been an EXCELLENT marketing tactic! I mean, it was okay, but not great. Oculus is definitely more clever and original, though I still hope to see better quality from some of the other horror offerings this year. Fingers crossed!

  4. McCarthy absolutely only has one trick in her bag (and I won’t even make a joke about the rest of that bag being filled with glazed donuts). Even by looking at the face she’s making on the poster you know exactly what to expect from her. She’s the female Chris Farley.

    • The thing is, I know she could do more. I like her, and I think she can be really funny, but I just hope she does something besides the same role over and over again…I actually think she could be well-suited to drama, but who knows if she’ll ever even get the chance?

  5. Have to admit to liking Tammy! The comedy didn’t really work but I liked what it had to say about how society undervalues people and what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that. Nice reviews Cara.

    • Thanks, my friend! Well, I’m glad you liked Tammy more than I did, anyway. I see what you’re saying about it–too bad the movie wasn’t a bit stronger to drive that point home, y’know? :/

    • Yeah they were definitely a letdown–particularly Tammy, since I knew McCarthy was involved in the writing. Seems like she should know more about comedy…Oh well. Thanks, Keith! 🙂

  6. LOL Hot Priest… that is pretty much all you took from that movie. Both are films that are not on my watch list and will stay that way. Great work lady!

  7. The thing about DUFE is it’s actually supposed to be true. I am not a fan of Eric Bana, but I second Louie’s statement about Bana getting Sarchie spot-on; Bana sounds pretty identical. I don’t think DUFE offers much new or fresh to the horror genre, and the jump scares didn’t seem to work, but it’s an interesting story as a “Drama” with elements of horror sprinkled-in. I was like you, hoping for something really creepy, etc., but what I got was a drama that attempted to stay as close to the true story, as possible, and that is okay with me. I actually really liked the final scene (at Sarchie’s house) and I think that was the main point Sargeant Sarchie and director Scott Derrickson was going for.

    I will say the thing I was most disappointed in was Sean Harris; he didn’t look scary one iota; he reminded me of Simon Pegg. Now the girl at the zoo, I think she was pretty creepy; she looked menacing. But Sean Harris was not at all. Maybe Ramirez should have played the demon character and Sean Harris play the priest. Then you would have to write about a “hot demon” instead of priest. lol.

    • Well, I’m glad you liked this one at least a little bit better than me, I think. Personally, I didn’t care about the whole “based on a true story” bit–there’s so much of that done anymore that I just assume there’s maybe a grain of truth and ignore the rest of it, so if Sarchie was a bit of an a-hole, it’s gonna bug me whether he actually was in real life or not. Lol. And I’ll just keep my Hot Priest, thank you very much. 😉

  8. LOL yes agreed Melissa McCarthy is the female version of Zach Galifianakis. They might as well do a movie together featuring their redundant characters. Didn’t they even play love interests in one of the Hangover movies.

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