Melissa McCarthy is a sharp, provocative, never-boring comedian. She plays obnoxious, compulsive, anti-social low-lifes who are oblivious to how appalling their behavior is. The fact that she’s obese fits right in with this. What undercuts this, of course, is that she’s in the same unhealthy boat as Gov. Chris Christie, who gets called out all the time for his girth. Watch McCarthy in one of her films and you can’t help but say to yourself “she’s funny and brilliant but on some level she’s also self-destructive.”
Chubby is one thing but whopper-size means you’re possibly flirting with a shorter life span (i.e., John Candy). Maybe. You can’t keep that thought out of your head.
I missed last Tuesday’s all-media screening of Identity Thief and I probably won’t see it anytime soon, but if I’d posted something I never would’ve gone after McCarthy’s weight like Rex Reed did in his New York Observer review. “Hippo,” “tractor-sized,” “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success,” etc. I respect that she’s brainy and nervy and accept the fact that she’s plus-sized, and that’s more or less it.
Except for the obesity metaphor, that is. Fatter comedians are thought to be funnier than slim ones, and maybe that’s true on some level. But McCarthy would still be funny if she were 30 or 40 pounds lighter. I don’t think it’s being mean or insensitive to say she should work on that.