CATEGORIES Movie NewsThe hilarious Melissa McCarthy is finally moving out of the background and into the spotlight on the big screen. As supporting characters, we've seen her steal the show in movies like Bridesmaids and This is 40. As Jon Stewart so eloquently put it, she's "a woman who skyrocketed to fame by shitting in a sink."
Now this year, we'll get a lot more McCarthy screen time. She's co-starring with Jason Bateman in Identity Thief, and later this year we'll see her and Sandra Bullock take on the buddy cop genre in The Heat.
In Identity Thief, she plays an obnoxious con-woman whose sense of style seems to be inspired by Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. She rocks blue eye shadow, enormous hair and very loud prints. She lives like there's no tomorrow, buying everyone shots at the bar, indulging in regular visits to the salon and stockpiling electronics and expensive knick-knacks galore.
Of course, all of this is bankrolled by stealing people's identities, including Bateman's character's. Once again, he plays the straight-laced, play-by-the-rules nice guy, not unlike his character Michael Bluth from Arrested Development. (He just does it so well!)
He hunts McCarthy down to clear his name, and hilarious and surprisingly touching antics ensue. There's plenty of the gross-out humor McCarthy has become famous for, including a great scene involving neon green vomit. There's also a lot of physical comedy and fight scenes between the two stars, which prove to be quite funny.
Ultimately, though, Identity Thief is a new take on the buddy comedy. It's actually quite refreshing to see a platonic male/female friendship blossom. And the fact that the characters prove to be much more than just wacky caricatures grounds the movie in something more than just a series of sight gags and wipe-outs. McCarthy has demonstrated she's more than capable of pulling off dramatic stuff, too, and Identity Thief utilizes her unique range well.
I can't wait to see a lot more McCarthy in the near future. In the meantime, here's a list of the top 10 reasons I think she's just the bee's knees.
1. She's proving that you don't need to be a Hollywood Barbie to headline a movie -- or a TV show, for that matter. Mike & Molly became a surprise hit, thanks in large part to McCarthy's charm.
2. Her scenes in This is 40 are by far the funniest of the movie. (Something Apatow must have also realized, since he ran extended McCarthy footage during the credits.) The scene in the principal's office where she tells Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann that they look like a bank commercial couple is the best.
3. She made Jon Stewart giggle uncontrollably with her story about the first night she did stand-up in New York. I only wish there were pics floating around of her gold lame get-up.
4. She's not afraid to be disgusting. She shit in a sink in Bridesmaids, and projectile vomited onto a cop in Identity Thief. I can't wait to see what she'll do next!
5. She can pull off physical comedy. She and Bateman have several hilarious fight scenes in Identity Thief, and she certainly knows how to find the funny in fighting. Watching her throw a throat punch is pretty epic.
6. She's got heart. While McCarthy's characters are often outrageous, she keeps them from becoming ridiculous caricatures. In Bridesmaids, for instance, we saw her character's vulnerable side towards the end of the flick. She also showed off her dramatic chops on Gilmore Girls as Lorelai's best friend Sookie, and once again in Identity Thief.
7. Her week hosting SNL was one of the show's best episodes in quite some time. The Hidden Valley Ranch focus group sketch was particularly funny -- and it looks like she dove into Marbles Harsgrove's closet for that classic Spock sweatshirt.
8. Her Spanx story is amazing. Not only is it hilarious, she sprinkles it with relatable gems like the "Sherpa" insight: how she stuffs things she thinks she'll get done in her bag in the morning, then doesn't do them, and keeps shuttling them back and forth every day thinking she'll do them at some point. I think everyone's been there at some point.
9. Two words: Marbles Harsgrove. How awesome is it that in their free time McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone make super-nerdy video blogs?
10. She doesn't pimp out her kids for attention. Some actresses are constantly "caught" by the paparazzi taking their kids to Disneyland or the beach or the mall. McCarthy's two daughters, on the other hand, are rarely photographed, and she doesn't rely on playing the "mommy card" to get more media coverage and seem more relatable. How refreshing!
Check out Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief, in theaters this Friday.