Unlike some high-profile summer tentpoles, Tammy — the raunchy road-trip comedy written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone — didn’t start out as a glimmer in a studio exec’s eye. Far from it. “About six years ago, Ben came downstairs — hair all over, he had just gotten out of bed — and he says, ‘I wanna write a story where you and your grandma take a road trip and she’s an alcoholic and she sleeps around,'” recalls McCarthy. “I was like, ‘Uh, okay! Great!'”

From those humble, bed-headed beginnings comes a comedy about Tammy (McCarthy), a crass fast-food worker who gets fired the same day she learns her husband is cheating. Fed up, she sets out on a rollicking cross-country car ride with her frequently tipsy grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon).

Sarandon is an unorthodox choice to play Tammy’s boozing grandma — at 67, she’s only 23 years older than McCarthy — but the actress was undeterred. “I was just like, ‘Am I supposed to do a funny voice and wear glasses?'” says Sarandon, who does neither in the movie. She does sport a gray wig and prosthetic feet for a few scenes involving swollen ankles. “Since it was hot, they would get pretty squishy. Who ever knew your feet could get that squishy?” For better or for worse, we do now.

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