On April 9, Netflix dropped its latest comedy Thunder Force. The film comes from the husband-and-wife team of Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, and it marks their fifth collaboration with McCarthy as the lead on screen and Falcone directing. For this week’s Binge Watch, I figured I’d look back at their previous four films in those roles, plus a bonus film where they shared the screen together!
About: This one finds McCarthy playing the titular Tammy, a crude woman who gets fired, finds out her husband is cheating on her and hits the road with her alcoholic grandma (Susan Sarandon). This one has a fantastic cast, which includes Alison Janney, Dan Aykroyd, Kathy Bates, and Gary Cole, among others. But it just doesn’t work. The comedy is stiff, as is the execution.
The Boss (2016)
About: This one finds McCarthy as a titan of industry, Michelle Darnell, who gets caught committing insider trading and goes to prison. Once on the outside, she reconnects with her former assistant, Claire (Kristen Bell), to get her life started again. That new start includes leading a Girl Scout Troop and making Claire’s life difficult, then clashing with a former rival (Peter Dinklage). Look, I know a lot of people thought this was over-the-top, and I guess it is, but I also kind of liked this movie. It has some funny moments, and Bell and McCarthy work well opposite each other.
Life of the Party (2018)
About: This collaboration finds McCarthy as Deanna, a mother dropping her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon), off at college. It’s immediately after her husband, Dan (Matt Walsh), asks her for a divorce. With the support of her best friend (Maya Rudolph), Deanna picks up the pieces and enrolls in college, with her daughter. Hilarity occasionally ensues. This one has some fun and iconic moments. I like McCarthy and Rudolph, and I thought Gordon did a nice job in what could have been a thankless role. It’s not great, but it’s good for a light-hearted laugh.
About: Released last year on HBO Max, this one finds McCarthy as Carol, the definition of an average woman. Carol is selected by a super intelligent computer (James Corden) to be the advocate or template for humanity. This one is a hot mess and incredibly boring. It was originally meant for theaters, but thanks to the pandemic inflicts its poor production on a much smaller group of unsuspecting HBO subscribers. Trust me, for all its faults, Thunder Force is better than this.
A Bonus Entry
About: Before Falcone became her directing partner, they shared the screen in a hilarious way in this iconic comedy. McCarthy was the ultimate scene-stealer as the crazy bridesmaid Megan, while Falcone has a hilarious role as Air Marshall Jon. They weren’t the main focus of the film, but their pairing was one of the fun highlights. If you want to see a great comedy that features a great McCarthy and Falcone pairing, make it this one.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a proud member of the Drive-In Podcast Network.