Seeing Melissa McCarthy's (2013's "The Heat") rise from a steadily working character actress to an Oscar-nominated box-office draw and leading lady has been one of the most inspiring Hollywood success stories in memory. Far from some 20-year-old starlet who got lucky with her looks and an audition, McCarthy has paid her dues (and then some), exhibiting time and again what a rangy, effervescent scene-stealer she can be. Now an Emmy-winning performer on CBS' long-running sitcom "Mike & Molly" as well as an in-demand actress of the silver screen, McCarthy comes off in real life as kind, generous and grateful, not for one second taking her good fortune for granted. In other words, she has earned everything she has gotten in recent years, and deserves it. That New Line Cinema agreed to fund her screenwriting debut and hand directorial duties to husband/co-writer Ben Falcone is a true testament to the studio's trust in her drawing power. "Tammy" probably would not have gotten made without McCarthy on board, and whether the finished film is great, so-so or an abject failure, what cannot be taken away is McCarthy and Falcone's achievement in creating and seeing through to fruition a passion project that has their names written all over it.
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