Silver Screen Spotlight: Melissa McCarthy

An actress and comedian of a unique caliber, Melissa McCarthy has always managed to capture a certain sentiment from her audiences with every project she does, whether the result be knee-slapping hilarity or -- on the contrary -- cringe-worthy disgust. Once known for her sincere minor characters on shows like Gilmore Girls, the actress in her most recent ventures on the big screen has escalated her career to one of flamboyancy and -- for the most part -- much vulgarity. While she may be much more low-key in her most recent television outing in the CBS sitcom Mike and Molly, her film roles have evoked a number of reactions ranging from superbly hilarious to willfully irritating. Now, as the actress steps forward into her most outlandish role yet in July's Ghostbusters reboot (and steps back into her role in the returning acclaimed series Gilmore Girls as well), it's the perfect time to look back at some of McCarthy's most memorable roles.


Beginning her career in a number of minor television and film outings, from NBC's hit sitcom Jenny to roles in films like Drowning Mona, Disney's The Kid, Charlie's Angels, and The Third Wheel, Melissa McCarthy gained her most prominent role in the 2000 hit series Gilmore Girls. Playing the klutzy, whole-hearted chef Sookie St. James, best friend to Lauren Graham's Lorelai Gilmore, McCarthy offered up one of her most memorable -- and most down-to-earth performances in the seven seasons that the show ran for. While I rarely watched the show while it was on television, I did manage to catch a number of episodes here and there over the years, McCarthy's humorous gal-pal to the show's two leading ladies leaving a lasting memory as one of the actress' more mild roles compared to her work today.


While she might be well-known today for her major television presence on the CBS hit sitcom Mike & Molly, playing the short-tempered but rational teacher-turned-writer opposite Billy Gardell's cynical police officer, McCarthy's popularity grew even greater as she dived into the film industry. Employing both her witty and vulgar dialogue, as well as her flamboyant physical hilarity, McCarthy blossomed into the recognized comedy star she is today with her first major role in 2011's Bridesmaids. Ensuing a partnership with director Paul Feig that led to two of McCarthy's best films, 2013's The Heat and 2015's Spy, the actress began down a long road of both success and failures. Still one of her best roles to date -- even as a minor character -- her Oscar-nominated role in Bridemaids remains the funniest of her career.      

With a plethora of hits and misses by both critics and the box office popping up after the actress began starring in lead roles in films like 2013's Identity ThiefThe Heat, and 2014's Tammy, Melissa McCarthy remained on-top as she still managed to win over a number of movie-goers with her unique comedy. While I loved her in Identity Thief -- where she played a conniving pickpocket opposite Jason Bateman's screwy accountant -- and didn't particularly hate her in Tammy, one of her best roles recently had to be opposite Sandra Bullock in the buddy-cop hit The Heat. Offering up a bad-ass, no-holds-barred performance as a violent and vulgar Boston detective, McCarthy's sharp and unhinged wit set against Sandra Bullock's by-the-book demeanor made for a dynamic and hilarious time at the theater.


After taking a short break from her typical crude comedies, starring alongside Bill Murray in the 2014 indie flick St. Vincent, McCarthy took to the spy genre to deliver one of my favorite spy comedies ever in last year's Spy. While the film might steal plot points from other spy comedies like Get Smart, and with that, poke fun at nearly any spy film out there, Spy managed to be one of the best comedies of last year, delivering a phenomenal performance by leading woman McCarthy. Less ill-advised (at times) than her older work, and much more riveting in its hilarious take on the spy genre, McCarthy's third project under the direction of Paul Feig utilized the actress' unique comedy, but ultimately didn't rely only on that...something 2014's Tammy tried at and unfortunately didn't succeed.

With there being no end in sight for McCarthy now, the actress diving into both the sci-fi and drama genres, while also retaining her specialized comedic styling, the many admirers -- and negative critics -- of McCarthy's specialized hilarity will have much to talk about as the future of this unique comedy star keeps growing larger and larger. While her most recent comedy under the direction of her husband and co-star Ben Falcone, The Boss, might not be fairing so well with critics right now, her next project will surely have both fans and critics scratching their heads in confusion. Hoping to spark the same grandiose flair of funny females he did with Bridesmaids, Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot could end up being either one of McCarthy's best, or just another flop to add to her list.        


What is your favorite Melissa McCarthy film? Do you prefer her comedic roles or would you like to see her in more dramatic roles in the future? Let me know in the comments below, and remember to stay tuned for more spotlights like these every month!

Popular Posts