Jenny McCarthy on film critic Rex Reed calling her cousin Melissa fat: ‘go to hell’

I am not very fond of Jenny McCarthy and generally find her insufferable, but she made some statements recently that I can really get behind. As background, an elderly film critic named Rex Reed slammed Melissa McCarthy’s new hit comedy, Identity Thief, by attacking Melissa’s size. In just a three paragraph review he called her “cacophonous, tractor-sized,” a “female hippo,” and dismissed her as “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”

In response to the controversy over his remarks, Reed just doubled-down, defending himself by claiming that his rude remarks “are what sold tickets” to the successful film and that he objects “to using health issues like obesity as comedy talking points. That’s what this girl does, this Melissa Manchester.” He couldn’t even get her name right. He then went on to say “I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes… I have helped people try to lose weight, and I don’t find this to be the subject of a lot of humor.” This a-hole just used the “I have fat friends” excuse.

So Jenny McCarthy is Melissa McCarthy’s cousin, and she summed this controversy up nicely.

Don’t mess with Jenny McCarthy’s family. One week after veteran film critic Rex Reed attacked the actress’ cousin Melissa McCarthy in a scathing write-up of the movie Identity Thief, the 40-year-old former Playboy model is speaking out. And she’s not mincing any words.

“[Melissa is] very talented and people know that,” McCarthy told E! News of the Bridesmaids star. As for Rex Reed? “He can go to hell.”

Reed, a critic for the New York Observer, has been under fire from many corners since Feb. 5, when he called Melissa McCarthy “tractor-sized” and a “female hippo” in his review of her latest hit comedy, co-starring Jason Bateman. He also accused the Oscar-nominated actress of being “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”

“That’s obnoxious in itself,” Jenny McCarthy told E! of Reed’s insults. “For anyone to attack like that, it’s just wrong and hurtful, and it doesn’t do anyone any good.”

[From US Weekly]

I agree with Jenny. Say the movie sucks if it does (and I’ve heard Identity Thief sucks) but don’t attack the lead’s size. No one says that Kevin James’ movies are crappy because he’s overweight.

Melissa is shown in stills from Identity Thief and at the premiere with her husband on 2-4-13. Credit:

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107 Responses to “Jenny McCarthy on film critic Rex Reed calling her cousin Melissa fat: ‘go to hell’”

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  1. karmasabiatch! says:

    Oh, please. Rex Reed has always been a vicious old queen. I’m surprised there hasn’t been an uproar about his nasty comments far before this. Maybe this time he’s gone too far, and we won’t have to suffer his “urbane” yet scathing reviews any longer. Boo.

    • skylla says:

      I don’t like Rex at all but honestly: he has a point. I loved Melissa in the Gilmore Girls but I was disgusted from “Mike&Molly” (I only saw the Pilot). Also Bridemaids and Identy Theft use her more as the butt of the joke instead someone to laugh “WITH”. So if she plays in degrading movies she sells herself short and HELPS to ridicule obesity and obese people.

      • Lee says:

        I saw identity thief last weekend and it was actually kind of sweet. It’s a stupid comedy in a lot of ways but it has some heart to it and Melissa is definitely a talented actress who makes the emotional moments hit far better than in any other similar comedy I’ve seen. I think the emotional connection that develops throughout the movie undercuts the ‘let’s laugh at the fatty’ type of humor that you apparently saw in it (assuming you saw the movie?)

        And I don’t understand how people can say Mike & Molly grosses them out. It’s not a great show, but what exactly is gross about it? That the leads are overweight? Cause that is an offensive statement IMO. I haven’t seen much of the show, but from what I have seen they acknowledge and deal with the weight issue head-on. When you have such a huge percentage of the population that is overweight like that, having characters that are relatable and human out there representing them while also including the perspective that their health should be a priority is kind of an important thing.

        Maybe I’m biased since I’ve loved Melissa since Gilmore. And when you consider she’s been a successfully working actress for nearly 15 years in an industry that has very little respect or interest in women like her I hardly think that qualifies as a short career. Kiss my ass Rex Reed is what I’m basically saying here.

      • Jennipurrr says:

        I stopped watching Mike & Molly due to all the fat jokes and race jokes. Honestly, half of the writing is put-downs. It’s too bad because I like the premise and the characters are great… It’s just what comes out of their mouths half the time is offensive. Not my idea of entertainment.

      • Jordan says:

        I agree with what you said Skylla. Rex Reed is an a$$ and he could have worded it differently to be less offensive, like you did. He just made people miss his point entirely.

    • Amy says:

      I am LOLing right now over “vicious old queen.” So true. He needs to call it a day already on this “career” of his.

    • Memphis says:

      karmasabiatch! “Oh, please. Rex Reed has always been a vicious old queen” ~

      I will LOLing about that for the rest of the day :)

      I like Melissa and I get her humor. She makes me laugh With her not AT her, Mr. Reed… He can spin it anyway he wants but he was just being a bitch!

    • Chelsea's handler says:

      Riddle me this, why do so many people put effort into their appearance via their hair, make up and wardrobe and then sabotage themselves by over eating? It seems self defeating.

  2. Jackson says:

    I had no idea they were cousins until I read it a few days ago. I actually do see a resemblance though. And, like a lot of other people, I thought Rex Reed was dead. He’s just some olde timey name to me. He is a pig and I’m glad Jenny defended her cousin.

  3. Dawn says:

    Rex Reed has always been a tool. And now he is just an old queen of a tool. I don’t recall him referring to Jackie Gleeson as obese ever…but I could be wrong. If the movie is bad it is bad on it’s own merit not because the actress is obese.

  4. Suze says:

    Rex Reed! Remedying the obesity crisis by calling people names!

    Yeah, that makes sense Rex. Keep talking. You are letting your true colors shine on through.

  5. Winnie says:

    I had no idea they were cousins!

  6. HouseofBeatrix says:

    He was a jerk for saying mean things about her weight, but I don’t wholly disagree with him calling her “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success”. I don’t think she’s obnoxious, but I do believe she’s using her size for laughs. I think most overweight actors do. They don’t have a choice. Hollywood does not make roles for fat people that doesn’t make their weight an issue.

    He’s may be partially right in saying his douchery is what sold tickets. The review rightfully pissed off people and those people made sure to go see it as a way to say “FU” to Reed.

  7. judyjudy says:

    I haven’t heard the phrase “go to hell” in ages. I hope it makes a comeback!

    And was MM in Identity Theft? All I saw was Jason Bateman. Mmmmm, Jason Bateman.

    Really though, love MM. She’s hilarious.

  8. Rinny says:

    I saw Identity Thief and while the funniest parts are MOSTLY in the previews; she is a funny actress/comedian!

  9. Rose says:

    The critic himself is no oil painting

  10. Rikki says:

    So what she’s big? Hollywood needs to stop bullying women into being rail thin.

  11. Jen says:

    Ugh how convenient that Jenny McCarthy would try to get publicity over this. Ridiculous.

  12. RHONYC says:

    wow. i was just wondering that the other day whether or not they were related.

    good for Jenny…funny & badass runs in the family. ;-)

  13. Thiajoka says:

    I don’t think anyone is surprised that Rex Reed is an old jackass who is irrelevant at this point in time–he was always a dick. Nothing’s changed there and I’m glad he is catching public flack for this.

    I have no idea how close the cousins are but I have a sneaky suspicion that Jenny might be just using this as an excuse to get some publicity. If she hadn’t done it before using her son (and caused so damned much trouble by convincing some to not inoculate their kids, then I might be less suspicious.

  14. aims says:

    Rex Reed is an idoit. Melissa is talented, funny  and an all around cool chick! If the movie sucks, then so be it. To make such a personal attacks is bullying of the worst kind. She knows she’s overweight, we know she’s overweight, but to slam someone in such a rude way is cruel. From what I’ve seen, she’s an awesome person, can’t say the same for Rex.

  15. Redheadwriter says:

    So according to Rex Reed, Orson Welles, Marlon Brando, etc., were just “gimmick” actors as well. Amazing how their weight was never a talking point in reviews of their movies.

  16. i'm french don't kill me says:

    all i can say is that she acts the same character in Bridemaids and Identity Thieft and she will act the same character in her next movie with Sandra Bullock

  17. Jm says:

    Agree with all of you. Just have to add – heavy or not, her face is just beautiful.

  18. DeltaJuliet says:

    I can’t stand Jenny but good for her for sticking up for her cousin! That shows some character on her part.

  19. Miss Kiki says:

    I’ve liked Melissa Mccarthy for a while now, I like that more people know who he is now but I hate that her roles now seem to be based on her being the gross fat girl. In 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls, as a main character, her weight was never mentioned once and if I’m not mistaken the same can be said for Samantha Who.

    • pwal says:

      I’ve been watching The Gilmore Girls lately, and the thing I like about it is that while Sookie was Lorelei’s best friend/sounding board, she also had a life of her own. A husband, children, a career that she was very passionate about… all of which she got during the show’s run, and she didn’t seem to be envious of Lorelei, despite Lorelei’s looks and personality. On the whole, Sookie was one the best representations of ‘best friend’.

      But yeah… Melissa’s film trajectory could be worrying, but if there’s a chance that she will reveal the vulnerability that many of her size feel, like when Megan gave the Kristen Wiig character the pep talk, she will be fine. But then again, when has Hollywood given any woman a comedy script, or any script for that matter, that they could sink their teeth into? Plus, like women of color, women of girth, for lack of a better term, aren’t written for on a regular basis because, for some reason, writers can’t or won’t put themselves in the mindset… as if it’s scary to be of color or overweight.

      I’m both… BTW.

      • EscapedConvent says:

        I agree about Gilmore Girls, one of my favorite shows. Sookie was one of the things that made it work, & I thought one of the best things about Sookie’s character was that she just happened to be a big girl, like Lorelai just happened to be tall. I don’t recall anyone making a “thing” out of Sookie’s weight; I’m not sure it was ever even mentioned.

      • Mrs. Darcy says:

        I agree completely, well said. The fact that this Rex Reed guy only knows her as a “fat chick comedian” saddens me, because I do think she is setting herself up for idiots like this and demeaning herself in a way when you compare her newfound “success” to her awesomely well rounded character in GG and even Samantha Who. I’ve never seen Mike & Molly but it sounds awful. And I found it really weird to see her as this grotesque (but ultimately loveable) creation in Bridesmaids. I thought it was funny at first just because she is so obviously adorable in everything else I’ve seen, but I would so hate to see her get pigeonholed. She seems like a smart cookie and I hope she doesn’t go too far down this road.I am going to see This is 40 this week and she is supposed to be playing a foul mouthed soccer Mom or somesuch so I’m not holding my breath there.

        The thing is you can be a crude “fat chick” and be a well rounded character, like Roseanne’s show I thought was well done in it’s day. But Melissa just seems to be playing this for laughs, it doesn’t feel like her natural default setting to me. Anyway I ramble!

  20. MonicaQ says:

    I would laugh in his face if I was her. Kevin James, Jack Black, Gabriel Iglesias, all of them have either made fun of their weight and turned into comedy because guess what?

    It makes it so when people say shit like this, it doesn’t hurt as bad. Or at least you still try. I’m a female American football player. I will never be Kate Upton or Giselle or Tyra and I am decidedly heavy. But being able to bench almost 180lbs at 5’4 while being 215lbs yourself doesn’t matter because you’re just “some fat girl”.

    So you become funny. You shrug it off. You make jokes about how you love food and how maybe your arm can fit in that dress but that’s about it. And no matter how self-confident you are, even after you have “made it”, those comments linger and you realize to a lot of people, you’ll always just be the “fat girl” and nothing else.

    But she’s making money and–get this–doing what she loves. So I’m happy for her. Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent.

  21. Dee Cee says:

    The movie bald faced used a well liked fat woman actress for shocking insults to humiliate characterization, not so wisely or kind set her apart to bully and become despised, slightly redeemed. Ask Barbra Streisand on her last bomb movie venture.. Rex’s being glib tho honestly obvious.. Get a clue talented Mellisa can find well written and directed acting roles better than this.. and shouldn’t waste your talents and charismatic charm on stinkaroo’s.

  22. Lucinda says:

    Or Chris Farly or John Candy or Rodney Dangerfield or, or, or. This has more to do with her being a woman and Rex Reed being an a**hole than anything.

  23. MJ says:

    That photo of Jenny McCarthy with the microphone just made my morning!

  24. Mira says:

    It’s called self-deprecation, at least one part of what Melissa does. The other part is hollywood typecasting and even the best of actors have to fight off typecasting. Sure, I won’t find it funny if Melissa does the fat-gross-girl in every movie but what she does has some social currency. To be able to laugh at one’s own physical features that can’t be changed or is difficult to change is not easy. I’m sure her fat-humor instills confidence in a lot of people struggling with obesity. I’m short at 5’1. It has taken me half my life to accept the reality that I can’t do anything about this. I also hate wearing heals, so I don’t care about my height being judged anymore. I laugh at it instead and smile at people who remind me often of my shortness.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      I agree. I’m @ 5’11″, and most of my life hated being taller than everyone around me, especially in school. But I’ve finally learned to accept the fact that I can’t change my height. I can change my weight, my hair color, my clothes, etc. but I am tall and there’s nothing I can do about it so I just accept it. Oh, and this acceptance really didn’t come until my son hit 6’4″ and I realized that he’s TALL, lol!

      But back on topic – I don’t know who this Rex Reed guy is, and I don’t really care. He must not be a very good movie critic, though, if he has to resort to name-calling the actors based on their physical looks rather than their actual acting.

      • Mira says:

        Lucky Charm, the grass is indeed greener on your side of height :) 5’11….geez! A part of me still wishes I were a few inches taller. 5’4 or 5’5, not more. Primarily because of clothes. I have to alter clothes almost always and also work to maintain my weight at 110 lbs. At present I weigh 20 lbs more and I’m struggling to lose the 20. My body type is such that I have to diet and exercise to lose weight and keep at it to maintain the weight. I wish I was tall enough to not bother about every lb of weight I tend to put on if I take a break from diet and exercise. Add to that, I love love food. Not the greatest combination…bum bum!

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:


      You’re an inch taller than me.

  25. Sirsnarksalot says:

    Go see the movie people. It’s hilarious all the way thru. She is a true comedic gem and she and Bateman play off each other perfectly. She rocks!

  26. yolo112 says:

    I understand it has a lot to do with Hollywood and the lack of good, serious roles for heavier women, but I gotta say – I am a little tired of the “fat and funny” schtick. For some reason, it doesn’t register as funny with me. Not Chris Farley, Kevin James and certainly not Melissa. I’ve seen the previews and I didn’t think the movie looked funny or good at all…not even a ‘watch on HBO movie’. (why do the roles have to make heavier people SO obnoxious??) BUT, it would have looked equally as bad if a thin hot actress played her part instead. Not even the adorable Jason Bateman could save this one.. I just think she is better than what she’s been getting and should put her foot down, stop settling for the shi**y roles.

  27. spinner says:

    Let’s ask Uncle Karl what he thinks — shall we?

  28. NeNe says:

    So what… She’s fat!!! It’s not like it isn’t true, but regardless, it shouldn’t matter one way or the other. In my opinion she is funny as hell. Being fat doesn’t detract from her being a good actress and/or funny.

    Melissa… F*ck ‘em all!!!!

  29. Mitch Buchanan Rocks! says:

    Great choice of shoes :)

  30. Michele says:

    I honestly had no idea they were cousins.

    Those “fat” comments were so nasty and totally unprofessional. Her weight should not be an issue when reviewing a movie she’s in. She got the last laugh…her movie debuted in the number 1 spot at the box office!

  31. Alexa says:

    If your #2 had eyes and a nose and looked at you when you went to flush – it’d look like Rex Reed.

    Way to speak up for your cousin, Jenny! And ya – I love Melissa McCarthy and find her so hilarious and adorable! (More Melissa McCarthy please!)

  32. stinky says:

    did he review “Precious”, i wonder? curious.

  33. Ginger says:

    Precisely! No one that I know of has ever attacked overweight male comedians in such a manner! You are correct, what an a-hole!! Melissa cracked me up so much in Bridesmaids. I thought she was the highlight of that film. I think many would agree that she was a stand out in a very talented ensemble cast. That says volumes about her comedic ability! And personally, I find Kevin James and Jack Black attractive. So, to each their own and this critic can “go to hell” as Jenny said. For once, I agree with her. SMH.

  34. Kaboom says:

    Well, just to squirt some gasoline in the fire: Kevin James lost a considerable amount of weight and his latest movie Here comes the boom is actually quite decent.

  35. bcgirl says:

    I found it very interesting that the tv entertainment shows that ran this story all PROTECTED Reed’s identity! Their stories all said “A film critic”, and never named him, even though his ancient tired old name is probably one of the best known in the industry.
    Further insight into the game being played in Hollywood with “critics” and “news”.

  36. shewolf says:

    He was wrong for saying it but he did make a good point… laughing about obesity just isn’t all that funny. It would be like laughing at people for smoking. Obesity kills more people than anything else but because its related to beauty standards this fact is often overlooked. I cringe when a very unhealthy and overweight person makes comments about people smoking…

    • Cuddles LaRue says:

      The problem is when people “concern troll” heavy people. They say terrible, hateful things in the guise of “I’m just concerned for your welfare.” Bullsh-t. It’s just an excuse to justify hate speech. Obviously, obesity can cause health problems, but without knowing that individual personally, how would you know if they are “healthy” or not. It’s not anyone’s business anyway.

      • Mairead says:

        Yep, I agree totally. But I don’t think it’s “hate speech” – more like being a smug jackass, or expecting people to conform to your idea of what’s attractive.

        And have you ever noticed that the most vociferous of these type usually have double-chins or a sizeable arse themselves? :lol:

    • Mairead says:

      Just as well you’ll never come to my house. I’m fat, unwell, hate smoking and really enjoyed ‘Thank You For Smoking’ (except for Katie Holmes, naturally) ;-)

  37. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Shades of Scorpius. The only good thing I can say about this goblin mind is that at least he isn’t Ishmael Reed.

  38. Lakemom says:

    I would rather see an overweight actress with talent than most of botoxed, cat-eyed, plastic faces with silicone bodies no talent actresses that pass for stars today.
    As for Rex Reed, he has always been a hateful bitch, now he’s just bitter.. He hasn’t been relevant in over thirty years and I don’t recall him ever giving a meaningful review.

  39. tmbg says:

    The man is a huge ass for laughing at this woman’s weight, but I hate the double standard. If she was thin, everyone would be saying, “Eat a Big Mac!” It would be politically incorrect to tell this woman to eat less.

    I just don’t get why both sides can’t respect each other. No one knows why this lady is overweight and Angelina Jolie is thin. You never can tell why someone is the weight they are.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      To me, that’s never going to be a double standard until you see articles in Seventeen called ‘Dying To Be Fat’ and telling someone who is overweight that she needs to eat an apple isn’t met with accusations of jealousy. A few outliers don’t make a phenomenon and when Kate Upton is a *figure* for ridicule, no way in hell is there anything even approaching a double standard.

  40. Agnes says:

    Melissa is Jenny’s cousin? Ugh. Terrible. Poor Melissa. (I hate Jenny – she has sh-t for brains and is a public health threat with her insane anti-immunization rants.)

  41. K Vance says:

    Way to go Jenny! Rex Reed is just a bitter OLD queen! LOL Celebitchy for “elderly film critic”.

  42. tooey says:

    Rex Reed needs to be reminded about how the “health” scare associated with AIDS back in the early 80s gave cover to a lot of homophobes and their hateful views. I see a lot of that hate couched as “concern” these days when it comes to fat people. Don’t worry people, it’s not catching. Fat people can lose weight but people who are hateful and judge others based on their appearance are ugly and broken inside and there is no fix for that.

  43. Kelly says:

    Way to go Jenny. I like both Jenny and Melissa!

  44. Liberty says:

    The director of Bridesmaids apparently told Reed to go f*** himself on Twitter. Reed also wrote vile things about South Koreans when “reviewing” another film. I guess being a failed wannabe actor made him into an extra-bitter a**hole?

  45. pj says:

    You cant compare overweight men and women in the same light in our society. Its apples and oranges. Men are judged by their accomplishments and women by their appearance. It might not be right but it is what it is.

  46. lisa2 says:

    Rex Reed and all critic should focus on the performance not the person.

    That being said I find it just mind blowing how it is fine to attack women on their size if they are skinny. Just read the Emma Stone post and all the talk of her being too skinny. Has nothing to do with her work. But now we pull back and are all don’t take about a woman if she is overweight. Especially if we like her. But being skinny is fair game now.

    Every woman comes in all sizes and shapes. Why that is a problem. I’m not saying some women are not too thin, but on that same note we have people that are too overweight. Why is it ok now to say something about one and not the other.

    Here’t the truth. NO we don’t do this as much to me. Although we are seeing it a bit with Governor Christie. But the thing is men are not on gossip sites ragging on other men about their weight. And what Rex Reed said about Melissa, I will bet has been said about other actresses by other women. Women are the ones that do this. Like it or not. We just get pissed when the words come out of the mouth of a man.

    • Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

      See, here’s the thing:

      Mention an overweight person’s appearance and it’s ‘concern trolling’, or a veiled insult. Say that of a thin person and it’s ‘jealousy’, right? It’s so frequently taken to be understood as some unattractive person’s way of making herself feel better because she’ll never look as good as the person she’s criticizing–you just don’t hear that coming from the other side. It’s not admirable to make fun of either, that’s not in question, but are we really saying that a thin girl can’t get a break these days what with the sea of copious flesh that hoards our collective perception of ‘ideal beauty’? I’m just not seeing it. That seems on par with declaring blonde hair dead, especially when paired with those ghastly blue eyes. I think it’s enough to just not make sport of other people’s body types because TV actresses lose weight with every new season because they can’t help it and all the people helping her get there want her to be ridiculed as unattractive.

  47. Ann says:

    Gay men are very often the biggest misogynists out there. Reed is completely delusional when he thinks his “critique” has sold tickets to the movie. Melissa McCarthy is much more famous than he ever will be.

  48. floretta50 says:

    This story is so rediculous it isn’t funny. Melissa McCarthy is obese. Mr Reed don’t like to see fat people on screen and Ms Melissa likes eating and is a successful actress who doesn’t care about her weight so what’s the beef? Under the 1st admentment both have their freedom to do and say what they want except maybe call fire in a movie theatre. When I see an obese person who is competent in public, I often wonder what that person is like behind close doors, and I say they are people who are out of control and maybe they aren’t but that is the perception. People who is in the public eye should be careful of the personna they put forward and that is not Mr Reed’s problem, it is the problem of the person who knows the type of criticism they will get from the venue they put themselves into. Hollywood?

  49. silver says:

    I saw the movie & loved it. good on Jenny for standing up for a family member :)

  50. EscapedConvent says:

    Rex Reed comes from a time when fat jokes were hi-larious & were considered surefire “comedy”. If you were striking out with every other subject, just reach for an idiotic fat joke & you’re gold. He needs an update.

    Also, he’s showing how out-of-touch he is by calling her Melissa Manchester! Time to check into the Hollywood Retirement Home, Rex, if they’ll have you.

  51. Terry says:

    Rex reed..the guy with hair resembling a plastic wig???

  52. Meanchick says:

    So, did old Rexxy Rex call his “fat friends’ names too all under the purpose of “helping them?”
    Why does anyone think calling people names is helpful?

  53. Hitrexonthenosewithapaper says:

    So it is agreed, Rex is a moron. Why is sex, size, race or sexual preference even an issue when it comes to being a film critic. Is he not aware that bullying is a problem? This guy is so out of touch with what is going on he should be taken to the “farm”.