Back when Identity Thief first came out, an elderly movie critic named Rex Reed made a bunch of mean, sizeist comments about Melissa McCarthy, as if her size was at all relevant to her performance. He called Melissa a “female hippo,” wrote that she was “cacophonous, tractor-sized,” and claimed she was “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.” Melissa didn’t deign to respond to that, and she of course had the last laugh when the movie went on to be a big commercial success.
Countless people expressed outrage at Reed’s comments, and in a new NY Times interview, a full four months after the controversy, Melissa has finally addressed it. This is how you respond to some bullsh*t like this – you wait a handful of months and then you address the larger point and the real meaning of those hateful comments. Melissa is as classy as she is funny.
When Ms. McCarthy was asked about the review over lunch in April, her characteristically cheerful tone evaporated. In a softer voice, she said her initial reaction to reading it had been “Really?” and then, she said, “Why would someone O.K. that?”
Without mentioning the name of its author, Ms. McCarthy said: “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”
Had this occurred when she was 20, Ms. McCarthy said, “it may have crushed me.” But now, as a mother raising two young daughters in “a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia,” she said articles like that “just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, ‘That doesn’t reflect on me.’ ”
“That makes it more true,” she said. “It means you don’t actually look good enough.”
Ms. McCarthy was about to say more when the restaurant began a long and very loud test of its fire alarm.
“I imagine that’s my publicist,” she said after a tension-breaking laugh. “The gods didn’t want us discussing this.”
I really hope that The Heat, Melissa’s buddy cop movie with Sandra Bullock, is a success. The trailer makes it look hilarious, and it’s a real step forward in the new trend of female-oriented comedies. I’m going to do my part to support it and will try and see it on opening weekend in a couple of weeks. It’s out June 28th!
One thing I learned from this profile is that Melissa is working on a comedy with Susan Sarandon. I love it. Melissa plays “an irresponsible woman on a road trip with her tough-as-nails grandmother.” They’re filming this summer and the movie was co-written and is directed by her husband, Ben Falcone. We’re going to see a lot more of the very talented and funny Melissa. Anyone who has a problem with that is going to get shot down by public opinion pretty quickly.
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock are shown in April at Cinemacon. Credit: WENN.com