Sometimes a critic should either shut their mouth or find a better way to articulate their criticism and in case there’s any ambiguity I want it to be known that this applies directly to Rex Reed. Last week, in a negative review of the dreadful Identity Thief, the movie critic crossed a line and took Melissa McCarthy to task by referring to her as “tractor-sized” and called Jason Bateman’s co-star “his female hippo.” He further pushed the line of crudeness when describing Melissa McCarthy as “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” Without hesitation, the movie blogosphere lit up and rightfully attacked Rex Reed for his crass comments but I’m surprised that this incident has not received a more mainstream following. I would like to chime in by responding to this controversy from two different points of view.
First, let’s put this whole weight criticism into honest perspective and context: It would be very inappropriate for a political pundit to insult New Jersey Governor’s Chris Christie governing style for his weight, and ditto if a music critic to make a claim if Adele’s new album is terrible because of her weight. Weight is a sensitive issue in America and sometimes people cannot control their weight. I think its worse to put a woman in this light and believe or not, women have struggled to find mainstream acceptance in this industry. I can related because I have personally battled my weight and I am proud that I have lost weight this year due to diet and exercise and because I understand the struggle I feel as if what Rex Reed has done has turned this Identity Thief hater into a Melissa McCarthy defender ( I general view her career decisions in a negative light…)
Second, I will not defend what Rex Reed said about Melissa McCarthy weight and how she comes across to him, However, I must admit that Rex Reed makes an interesting point about Melissa McCarthy’s career choices. Despite Rex Reed’s insensitivity, this doesn’t change the fact that Melissa McCarthy is becoming a one trick pony of a comedic actress. I don’t think that she is currently a gimmick actress, however, she is on the verge of having a gimmick career. Talented actors and filmmakers end up trapped in those one note gimmicks and type cast. If you look at her TV show, to Identity Thief, to even The Heat, which is opening this summer, there is no doubt that Melissa McCarthy has a comedic talent that isn’t fully being utilized. She isn’t the woman on Gilmore Girls, or for that matter, the actress who shined brightest during the big emotional moment of intervention in Bridesmaid. That’s is what audiences love about Melissa McCarthy rather than when she burped loudly, or tried to seduce Air Marshal Bob, or even crapped in a sink and it’s clear that Rex Reed doesn’t understand this.
What McCarthy needs after the dust settles is intervention from her publicist and agent to pick smarter projects which utilize her acting ability. If Melissa McCarthy keeps picking projects such as Identity Thief, it could tarnish her brand and possibly harm her career. She needs a friend to push her around and tell her to “fight for her shitty [career.” Like she was to the Kristen Wiig character in Bridesmaids because I feel that Melissa McCarthy deserves so much better then her latest, and even her next movie. She is too talented to join the C list of niche stars such as Zach Galifankis, Jon Heder, and Diablo Cody. They are typecast, one trick pony’s and mostly overlooked by an industry that knows they are good for their one thing…which happens to be the thing that the public is mostly sick of watching. Melissa McCarthy is too great of a comedic actress to end up like them.
Last summer, I attended most of the movies during the Film on the Rocks outdoor summer movie series at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado. The loudest reaction from any movie from the crowd was the above mentioned emotional climax of Bridesmaids. The audience went wild after someone yelled out loud, “We love you, Melissa.” I witnessed an audience embrace an actress they adored.
Fight for your career, Melissa. You have an audience that’s rooting for you to succeed.
Melissa McCarthy arrives to the “Identity Thief” World Premiere photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding.
He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.