Melissa McCarthy may have been around in showbiz since the late 1990s, but for many of us, including myself, she became someone to look out for after her breakout role in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids. A supporting role, that was all it was supposed to be, in a low budget comedy movie. But Bridesmaids became the sleeper hit of 2011, and just like it did for the others, the movie made Melissa McCarthy an instant star. She was nominated for numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Such was the level of recognition she received for her comical role as the groom’s sister in Bridesmaids. Her latest movie Spy, no longer as a supporting cast member but as the heart and soul of the movie, is up for release this weekend, and there has been no looking back for McCarthy in the last four years. Let’s relook her performances ever since Bridesmaids till Spy.
This Is 40 (2012)
This is 40 is the sequel / spin-off to Judd Apatow’s 2007 movie Knocked Up. The movie’s main stars are Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, but Melissa McCarthy has a cameo as the mother of a boy who is studying in the same school as the lead pair’s kids. McCarthy’s son has been bullied by the couple and she is in the principal’s office complaining about them, when things just worsen, in a comical way for us of course. It is a lovely scene, which the bubbly McCarthy makes all the more enjoyable to watch. The clip is posted below, though note that it is laden with expletives.
Identity Thief (2013)
Melissa McCarthy was leading the comedy movie, Identity Thief, along with Jason Bateman, which released in early 2013. It was the first real test of McCarthy’s potential as a lead figure since Bridesmaids, and it did not disappoint. The movie raked in $174 million worldwide at the box-office, as against its modest production budget of $35 million. The movie has McCarthy as Diana, who steals the identity of Jason Bateman’s character and splurges his money, which marks the beginning of a hilarious two hours. McCarthy’s performance was admired and adored, even though the movie largely earned negative reviews from the critics. But the journey of Melissa McCarthy as a lead actress had well begun! And remember the car scene where McCarthy is really getting on the nerves of Bateman?
The Hangover Part III (2013)
Melissa McCarthy had a brief role in The Hangover Part III, which is part of the biggest R-rated comedy movie franchise, and it would have done her resume no harm by being part of a movie that earned $362 million worldwide. Even though considered as the weakest movie in the trilogy, the love pairing of McCarthy and Zach Galifianakis was fun, comical and in fact, quite sweet. McCarthy is a bit more restrained in her performance in this movie, less loud, less cheeky, but still adorable. The lollipop scene was the highlight of the movie!
The Heat (2013)
The Heat sort of answered any pending questions that were being asked on McCarthy’s status as a lead actress and star. Once again collaborating with Paul Feig, Melissa McCarthy was at her very best in this cop-buddy movie which had released in the USA in competition with the high-budget White House Down, but emerged overwhelmingly superior. Made on a production budget of only $43 million, the movie earned $230 million at the global box-office, and was a stupendous hit for the studio. McCarthy’s chemistry with Sandra Bullock worked to perfection, and the talks of a sequel became quite strong, though nothing is firm as of now. The duo did make a funny ‘good cop, bad cop’ version, didn’t they?
Summer of 2014 saw Melissa McCarthy return in the lead role again with Tammy. In the movie, McCarthy played the titular character of Tammy who after losing her job and learning that her husband has been unfaithful, hits the road with her profane, hard-drinking grandmother – played by Susan Sarandon. The movie turned out to be yet another hit for McCarthy, collecting $100 million at the box-office, which is about five times its production budget. Though it wasn’t as impressive as The Heat, financially or critically, Tammy still showed that McCarthy was considered to be a good enough reason by the audience to walk into the theatres, and her engaging personality was continuing to win hearts.
St. Vincent (2014)
St. Vincent saw Melissa McCarthy team up with the comedy legend, Bill Murray. McCarthy had a supporting role in the movie, playing a single mother whose son finds a friend in the misanthropic war veteran living next door, played by Murray. The movie was made on a very low budget of $13 million, and by the time its theatrical run had ended, it had collected close to $55 million, which makes it a hit. The movie wasn’t a loud comedy movie; it had its softer and emotional moments, which thus made it one of the best reviewed movies of Melissa McCarthy’s career.