I have generally tried to keep Kentucky Geek Girl a positive space. I like to write posts about good things that happen to people, movies that I like, places I enjoy going, but this hit too close to home for me not to make a comment. Reed's review went live on February 5, yet today is the first that I have heard about what he said, as things often make the rounds around the Internet and I suddenly find them in my newsfeed. I have not yet seen Identity Thief, but wanted to check out some early reviews of the movie so I could decide if it would be my movie of the week. I do intend to see it and by and large support actors that I enjoy watching (McCarthy and Jason Bateman) however, I will not be able to see it without Reed's thoughts in my head.
I want to get so fired up about this that I write some brilliant piece of prose that causes people to raise a fist in the air to cheer me on. I want people to understand simply how mean-spirited this was. There are writers much more eloquent than I out there who have already done that. I just simply could not stand by without making a comment, however. I remembered Reed from watching The Critic when I was a kid I know that he was parodying himself on the show. I also recalled that he had been arrested over a decade ago for shoplifting from Tower Records. Having seen him on television at various times, I knew that he was probably my least favorite critic. I was always a fan of Siskel and Ebert at the Movies growing up.
This week, with his review of Identity Thief, his attack on Melissa McCarthy is the main purpose of the review. He accuses her of ruining the movie and calls her a "cacophonous hippo." Reed wonders how that Jason Bateman could ever have become involved with a project like this, which is the worst road movie since The Guilt Trip, which starred Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen. While he is a critic and can comment on the film's director, plot, or how the actors meshed as an ensemble, Reed had absolutely no right to personally attack McCarthy with his downright hateful remarks.
Reed has pigeon-holed McCarthy by saying that she has "devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success." Really? Not only has Melissa McCarthy been acting since the mid-1990s, according to her IMDB entry, she has not made her weight an issue in all of her roles. Yes, Mike & Molly is about a couple of met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, however, at its heart its about two people who are looking for acceptance in a world that is cruel and unwaveringly mean-spirited, just like Reed in his review of Identity Thief.
Female celebrities have always been under much more scrutiny regarding their weight than their male counterparts. Chris Farley, who made his career with characters like Matt Foley, often used his weight in physical comedy and people laughed, perhaps at him rather than with him. However, I cannot recall instances where he was openly mocked in a review of any of his films, though he, in fact, did have a very short career. In recent years, actors Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, and Jack Black have all emerged as much trimmer versions of themselves, possibly because it is easier to obtain a leading role as a thinner actor. Even still, I never heard of anyone openly mocking them for their weight.
I have no doubt in my mind that Melissa McCarthy is incredibly healthy. Will she be able to shrug off Reed's comments? I don't know. I don't think I would be able to, and as someone who is a plus size, I really took his hate speech to heart for her. I am left wondering if he will issue an apology or if the Observer will take action against what he said.
When I was in middle school, my English teacher would tell us, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." Well, if his acerbic exercise in stupidity is any indication, few will ever want to have anything to do with him.
Before I close (and because this didn't really fit anywhere else) I will say that I didn't enjoy Melissa McCarthy's episode of Saturday Night Live which aired earlier this season. I, however, don't blame her for this. Like many hosts, she was not given the right sketches. Also, I think she is simply gorgeous.
Images from North Dallas Gazette, Screen Rant, San Francisco Chronicle.