After coming to public attention with her long-running stint on “Gilmore Girls,” Melissa McCarthy continued to star in a mix of supporting television roles and small film parts. Luckily, casting directors realized her ability to make audiences laugh and started giving her bigger parts. She broke through in the CBS comedy “Mike and Molly,” but shot to superstardom by stealing the show in “Bridesmaids” in 2011. Since then, she has been better known for her hilarious movies, even as she continues on “Mike and Molly.” Here are her funniest films to date, a list that will only grow longer as her career continues to flourish.
Though Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph were the stars of the film and were great in their roles, it was McCarthy and Aussie actress Rebel Wilson who ran away with the film. McCarthy played Megan, a government worker with a mean freak streak in her who romances real-life husband Ben Falcone on a plane and goads Wigg’s character into getting her life together. She didn’t always have the best lines in the film, but her spot-on delivery made those lines the funniest. She is also the star of a short piece tacked onto the end of the closing credits that is as good as anything in the main part of the film.
After being a supporting actress who made a big impact in films such as “Bridesmaids,” McCarthy finally took the lead, co-starring with Jason Bateman in “Identity Thief.” She plays Diana, a Florida woman who steals identities to buy stuff she really doesn’t need. She goes on shopping sprees, buys expensive clothes and books spa appointments in a desperate attempt to fill the void in her life. When she steals the identity of Sandy Patterson (Bateman), he travels to Florida in an attempt to make her stop, so he can save his new job. The film then becomes a buddy road-trip movie of sorts, with McCarthy turning the criminal Diana into a relatable person. It’s not a drama, though, so on the road to redemption, McCarthy delivers plenty of laughs and some physical pratfalls to please her growing base of fans.
“The Hangover Part III”
McCarthy only has a small role with a handful of scenes in “The Hangover Part III,” but she makes the most of her limited screen time. She plays Cassie, the foul-mouthed owner of a Las Vegas pawn shop who crosses paths with the three main characters, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis). Nearly everything she says or does elicits a laugh from the audience, especially when her character interacts with Alan, who becomes a love interest for her. Fans of the comedy series will know that Alan’s state of arrested development has prevented him from becoming romantically involved with anyone, but leave it to McCarthy to change all that.
McCarthy reteams with “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig for this raucous comedy, which co-stars Sandra Bullock. She plays the irritable Boston detective Mullins, who crosses paths with Ashburn (Bullock), a federal agent investigating a case on Mullins’ home turf. The nearly unconventional Mullins is an effective cop who believes so much in the law that she arrested her own brother rather than have him become a low-level thug in the drug-dealing crime syndicates around town. Ashburn is a straight-laced cop who finds Mullins to be frustrating and frightening in equal measures. The result is one of the few female-led buddy-cop movies where the men are either villains or pawns. McCarthy uses her physicality and trademark delivery to turn her lines from amusing to hilarious and plays off Bullock well. The film beat some tough competition during its opening weekend at the box office, outperforming Brad Pitt in “World War Z” in its second week and Channing Tatum in “White House Down.”
“This is 40”
The film “This is 40” was billed as a sequel of sorts to “Knocked Up,” the fantastic offbeat comedy from writer/director Judd Apatow. Though this film is as much drama as it is comedy, it mixes both in a very touching way that still brings the laughs. McCarthy has what amounts to a cameo role in it, but it is easily the funniest part of the film. She plays Catherine, the parent of a rival child at the school of Debbie’s (Leslie Mann) child. Catherine accuses Debbie’s child of bullying her own, leading to a tense yet funny confrontation in front of the principal. Much like in “The Hangover III,” McCarthy takes a small part and nearly steals the film, proving that her star power is growing by the day.