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The Best to Worst Melissa McCarthy Movies: 2022 Ranking

From Bridesmaids and Spy to critically-acclaimed dramas and love-to-hate-it comedies, everyone’s got a favorite Melissa McCarthy movie. But what’s the best? Better yet, what’s the worst? Here’s our ranking of the best Melissa McCarthy movies in 2022! 

Melissa McCarthy Movies 

To the surprise of no one, comedy star Melissa Ann McCarthy first found her footing in sketch comedy. Including a brief stint as a drag queen, she stayed fairly under the radar until landing a role on Gilmore Girls. 

After which, McCarthy solidified a space in the hearts of millions as the bubbly, happy-go-lucky Sookie St. James. When Gilmore Girls retired from the small scene, she played it safe. She bagged a few supporting roles before netting 2010’s Mike & Molly.  

Her titular role in the tv series earned McCarthy an Emmy and, a year later, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her comedic performance in Bridesmaids.

Though McCarthy was no stranger to foul-mouthed characters by that point, her mainstream audience couldn’t have anticipated the comedic genius lying under that sweet smile until the infamous food poisoning scene.

Related Reading: Best Stupid Jokes

Since then, McCarthy has proven herself to be a highly versatile actress. Unfortunately, that’s also led to a series of bad movies mixed with a couple of amazing ones. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the worst, the best, and the “meh”.

19 Best Melissa McCarthy Movies Ranked

Best Melissa McCarthy Movies                 

From brain drains to the occasional thriller, McCarthy hasn’t always picked the greatest script.

In fact, if it weren’t for her prowess as a comedian, this list would be a lot shorter. 

Fortunately, even our worst picks are watchable.

To give her filmography a running chance, we’ve decided to focus on McCarthy’s most noteworthy appearances, starting with a notorious threequel.

19. The Hangover: Part III (2013)

The Hangover Part III

The 2010s was a time of ensemble comedies, crude humor, and lovable if somewhat side-eye-worthy characters. Following Bridesmaids, McCarthy stayed in the mix, only to be shoehorned into the aptly named Hangover: Part III. 

Melissa McCarthy plays Cassy, a Billy Joel-loving, pawn shop-owning, freak of nature. The beloved of Zack Galifianakis’ Alan, this movie lands last on our watch list as a definite “skip it.”

Simply put, there’s not a lot to love. It’s fairly forgettable compared to the rest of the films on this list and a far cry from the first movie in the trilogy.

McCarthy’s role is the best and brightest part of the Wolf Pack’s last adventure, and she’s not even a major feature. 

If that alone is enough for you—and if you’re a fan of crass comedy—feel free to give it a watch. (Better not, though.)

Related Reading: Best Will Ferrell Movies

18. Pretty Ugly People (2008)

 

Pretty Ugly People

If The Hangover: Part III hadn’t been the trainwreck it was, this movie would be at the bottom of our list.

The debut work of director The Help’s Tate Taylor (yes, The Help), Pretty Ugly People features Missi Pyle as Lucy, a formerly overweight woman who throws together a reunion on the premise that she’s sick and dying. Turns out, she’s not! She’s just skinny now.

Lucy’s friends feature McCarthy and Thunder Force co-star Octavia Spencer as Becky and Mary, respectively. 

Let’s say this relic hasn’t aged well. McCarthy and Spencer are the only good things about this film. and not even that is enough to justify a rewatch in our eyes.

Definitely skippable. 

17. Tammy (2014)

Tammy

Post-Bridesmaids saw a string of forgettable Melissa McCarthy comedies, all helmed by her husband and director Ben Falcone.

2014’s Tammy was the first. In this one, we see McCarthy play a recently unemployed fast-food waitress who decides to uproot her life and go on a road trip to Niagara Falls. 

Also joining this half-baked comedy are co-stars Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon, who plays McCarthy’s alcoholic grandmother and companion-slash-enabler of her misadventure.

Although commercially successful, Tammy is a misfire in every way that matters. Seemingly given very little work with, McCarthy’s comedic timing and ab lib prowess stand out. 

Sadly, it’s not enough to make this film work. 

16. Identity Thief (2013)

Identity Thief

Riding on the coattails of Bridesmaids fame, the comedy film Identity Thief should’ve done more for McCarthy.

In her first-ever starring role, McCarthy is Diane, a con artist who steals the identity of Sandy Patterson, played by Jason Bateman. The two naturally clash and end up teaming up for a cross-country road trip together.

Jason Bateman acts as the straight man to McCarthy’s high-voltage, punch-happy comedy, making for a great odd couple. Unfortunately, the writing relies too heavily on bad jokes and cheap tricks to flow well.

Identity Thief isn’t an entirely joyless watch if you happen to pick it up—but maybe shelve it for a bored Sunday afternoon instead.

15. The Boss (2016)

The Boss

Released two years after Tammy, McCarthy’s performance is, unsurprisingly, the best thing about The Boss.

McCarthy plays Michelle Darnell, an insider-trading ex-con who turns to girl scout cookies (that’s right—girl scout cookies) to make her fortune. Accompanied by the witty Kristen Bell, The Boss’ hysterical premise stands on shaky legs thanks to its take-it-or-leave-it plotline and lukewarm comedy. 

McCarthy’s electric personality and foul-mouthed humor made The Boss a commercial success, so it surely garnered more than a few laughs in the process. However, as more recent filmography has proven, McCarthy’s talents are better used when she’s not playing up the Bridesmaids act to a new extreme. 

Overall, The Boss is skippable but not without its merits.

14. Superintelligence (2020)

Superintelligence

Ben Falcone movies have a bad rap—and for good reason. Throw James Corden into the mix and you’d think you’ve got a disaster on your hands, but Superintelligence proves to be oddly endearing if ultimately subpar.

This rom-com in sheep’s clothing has McCarthy playing the most average person on earth, a refreshing departure from her usual characters. 

Thanks to a dastardly artificial intelligence, McCarthy’s character, Carol, is all that stands between humanity and a Skynet–esque doomsday. Despite this interesting concept, Superintelligence’s romantic subplot with Bobby Cannavale steals the show. 

McCarthy’s Gilmore Girls sweetness shines throughout Superintelligence, making it a half-decent choice.

13. Thunder Force (2021)

Thunder Force

Last year’s superhero comedy once again casts Melissa McCarthy as a bookish but well-meaning darling. Reunited with the fantastic Octavia Spencer, the two stumble into heroism and become a crime-fighting duo

McCarthy and Spencer go together like peanut butter and jam, so props for Ben Falcone for figuring out that one. Sadly, their dynamic isn’t enough to place Thunder Force any higher on this list.

Don’t get us wrong—the film has likable parts. Heck, you may even enjoy it! Alas, Thunder Force does neither actress justice and the end result feels half-hearted at best.

Our verdict: Skippable. 

12. The Happytime Murders (2018)

The Happytime Murders

Do you like the Muppets? How about Die Hard? Great, because The Happytime Murders has none of the family-friendly content and all of the puppets.

Joined by Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph and Joel McHale of Community fame, McCarthy plays Connie Edward, an LA detective. She joins up with her former partner, a puppet PI to solve a string of puppet murders. 

Given its outlandish concept and R-rated humor, this film may have fared better during the era of SNL-skits-turned movies. It has all the hijinks if very little of the flair. 

All in all, not a terrible choice. You’re guaranteed an okay time. 

11. Life of the Party (2018)

Life of the Party

McCarthy revisits her sitcom charm with 2018’s Life of the Party. A newly single mom, Deanna Miles follows her 22-year-old daughter Maddie to college and rediscovers herself. 

That’s it. It’s exactly what it says on the tin. No over-the-top gags, no extreme gross-out scenes. Nada.

Overall, Life of the Party is a sweet film. McCarthy is likable as ever in this unconventional take on female empowerment. Plus, as far as collaborations with husband-director Ben Falcone go, this one might be the best. 

Watch it or skip it—you decide!

10. This is 40 (2012)

This is 40

Creator of The 40-Year-Old-Virgin and Knocked Up, Judd Apatow debuted This is 40 in 2012, a somewhat forgettable movie about middle age, children, and marriage.

McCarthy herself didn’t have a major role in this one. She played the mother of a high-school student who finds herself feuding with the film’s leads (Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann) after a confrontation concerning their children.

Let’s just say it escalates. 

Melissa McCarthy’s character goes on a foul-mouthed tirade, stealing the show in under ten minutes. (In fact, the movie loved McCarthy so much, they even added a post-credits blooper reel of her ad-libbing.)

You may find the whole movie palatable, but McCarthy’s performance alone is enough reason to give it a casual watch. 

9. The Nines (2007)

The Nines

You probably missed this psychedelic piece.

Directed by screenwriter John August, The Nines features Ryan Reynolds as three separate men, all awash in existential agony. One is a troubled actor under house arrest, the second is a haunted TV writer, and the last, a video designer who’s stranded with his family in the middle of nowhere.

McCarthy plays second fiddle to Reynolds in each story, first as a PR handler, a friend, and later his wife, respectively. 

We should always expect a level of weirdness from Melissa McCarthy, but The Nines’ takes the cake. It sits firmly in the “film as art” category and not always in a good way. That said, both Reynolds and McCarthy deliver stellar performances, foregoing their usual goofiness for something more nuanced. 

In short, The Nines does what few movies do—take Melissa McCarthy seriously.

8. St. Vincent (2014)

St. Vincent

Melissa McCarthy’s string of comedy films came to a brief pause with the release of St. Vincent in 2014. 

Spearheaded by comedy-legend Bill Murray, St. Vincent is a feel-good drama about a cantankerous, cigarette-smoking older man who starts looking after his new neighbor’s son.

Although Bill Murray is the star of this show, Melissa McCarthy’s role as the mother is worth mentioning. She delivers an overall pleasant performance that is neither overpowering nor uninteresting next to Murray’s magnetism.

St. Vincent is definitely something we wouldn’t mind seeing more of. 

7. The Starling (2021)

The Starling

Continuing our trend of heartfelt dramas, Melissa McCarthy returned in 2021 with The Starling.

Joined by actor Chris O’Dowd, married couple Lily and Jack Maynard are embroiled in grief following the loss of their infant child. By the beginning of the film, Jack is seeking psychiatric help while Lily stays home alone to cope with the loss. However, her mourning takes a turn with the arrival of a pesky bird.

The Starling is a tear-jerker for sure. McCarthy’s dramatic chops never cease to amaze audience members, and although this piece isn’t her best feature film, it has more pros than cons.

If you happen to watch it, bring tissues. Otherwise, we recommend the remaining movies on this list.

6. The Kitchen (2019)

The Kitchen

Eating off the same plate as 2018’s Widows, Andrea Berloff’s The Kitchen isn’t quite as exciting, but it’s worth watching if you’re in the mood for a mob thriller that isn’t a Sarcose ripoff

Joined by Elisabeth Moss of The Handmaid’s Tale and former SNL host Tiffany Haddish (both of whom are also Emmy winners), Melissa McCarthy is the trio’s more mature, tough-as-nails figurehead. Together, they fight to keep their families afloat after their husbands go to jail.

This triad of mob wives reaffirms McCarthy’s ability to pull punches without actually punching. 

While aspects of it left us wanting more, The Kitchen doesn’t need to rely on McCarthy to carry the film nor does it need to.

5. Ghostbusters (2016)

Ghostbusters

Remakes of any kind are often a-hit-and-a-miss. This female rebrand in particular didn’t rake in as big of a payoff as producers may have hoped. What it did deliver, however, was an enjoyable plot, great characters, and a good time for viewers.

Joined by Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy plays Abby Yates, a physicist with a modest obsession for the paranormal. In contrast to her usual roles, McCarthy acts as the straight woman to her costars’ antics.

Together, the four deliver an all-around fantastic performance, playing off each other’s comedic timing in what turned out to be a respectable homage to the 1984 classic. 

If the internet trolls turned you away when this film first hit the box office, give it another try. It’s worth it!

4. The Heat (2013)

The Heat

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock team up with director Paul Feig in this Cagney & Lacey meets Bridesmaids buddy cop film. 

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McCarthy plays Shannon, a no-nonsense detective who cusses a mile a minute. Meanwhile, Bullock plays Sarah, an FBI agent who’s a little too straight-laced to have any real friends. They (begrudgingly) partner up to take down a drug lord. 

The premise alone isn’t anything new, but Feig, who McCarthy previously worked with on Bridesmaids, taps into the comedic skills of both actresses to deliver a genuinely funny film. 

There’s just the right amount of gags and frantic screaming to make The Heat the ideal movie for McCarthy to let loose. Bullock, who is a versatile actress in her own right, portrays the ideal foil to McCarthy’s more eccentric form of humor.

The Heat is a good time and a favorite of many McCarthy fans.

3. Bridesmaids (2011)

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids was *the* movie of 2011. Co-stars Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, and Maya Rudolph all delivered outstanding performances, but this one was undoubtedly McCarthy’s moment.

The movie itself follows Wiig (who co-wrote the film) as Annie Walker, a thirty-something woman whose personal troubles clash with the upcoming nuptials of her best friend. Meanwhile, McCarthy’s character is Megan Price, the blunt yet lovable sister of the groom and a fellow bridesmaid.

Despite existing in a support capacity, Megan proved to be both the film’s moral center and its X factor, earning McCarthy an Oscar nomination in 2012 and several other accolades.

Largely thanks to McCarthy, Bridesmaids is one of the funniest films around. You absolutely can’t miss this one.

Looking for more comic misadventures? Try out some Wes Anderson movies.

2. Spy (2015)

Spy

Don’t get us wrong: Bridesmaids is legendary. McCarthy has yet to star in a comedy with the same energy—but Spy doesn’t need Melissa McCarthy to pull any extremes.

McCarthy plays the character of Susan in this delightful rendition of the wannabe-spy trope. 

Working once more with Paul Feig, Susan is the type of character you love to root for as she takes on the world of spycraft and encounters hilarious setbacks along the way. 

Feig once again marvelously taps into McCarthy’s sweeter side without fully neglecting her eccentricities. Her brand of humor is further complemented by Jason Statham and Rose Byrne, the former of who proves to be shockingly funny.

Spy is a definite win! 

1. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)

Can You Ever Forgive Me

Her finest performance yet, Can You Forgive Me? sets itself apart from McCarthy’s other films with a bittersweet take on missed opportunities and how far we’re willing to go to be successful.

An unconventional true crime story, Melissa McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a failed biographer who starts to sell letters from deceased celebrities to cover her vet bills. Realizing people are willing to pay handsomely for the intimate thoughts of Fanny Brice, Noël Coward, and other distinguished figures, Israel begins an ill-fated career in literary forgery. 

The actual Lee Israel passed away in 2014, but not before releasing a tell-all autobiography on which this film is based.

McCarthy’s take on Lee Israel is both devastatingly relatable and humorously tragic, resulting in her second Oscar nomination in 2019. Although she ultimately lost out to The Favorite’s Olivia Coleman, Can You Forgive Me? is irrefutable proof of McCarthy’s immense talent.

If there’s any of Melissa McCarthy movies you absolutely need to watch, this is the one. 

Melissa McCarthy Movies Round Up: Final Thoughts

Thanks to her vibrant energy and hysterical improv talents, McCarthy is no one-trick pony.

Although her colorful career has had more slumps than outright highs, Melissa McCarthy is an actress for the age. While she may never fully shed the Bridesmaids’ typecast, she seems comfortable taking on whatever’s thrown her way and that has to count for something.

What are your favorite Melissa McCarthy movies? Let us know in the comments below!