A critic has become the center of controversy after calling Identity Thief star Melissa McCarthy "tractor-sized" and a "hippo" in a review of the film.
"Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success," Rex Reed wrote in The New York Observer. Reed also referred to her character as "a screeching, humongous creep."
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Users quickly flocked to the comments to protest Reed's review, claiming that his attack on McCarthy's weight was evidence of a double standard. "As a culture, we can tolerate an ugly man as long as he's funny, but a woman has to be both attractive and talented (in that order) to be deemed worthy of a leading role," wrote one commenter.
"It'd be interesting to know if Mr. Reed has referred to John Goodman as a 'hippo' or 'tractor-sized' in his reviews of that male actor's movies?" asked another.
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Based on a Reed's recent reviews of Argo and The Artist, in which Goodman appeared, the answer is no. Reed never mentions the actor's weight in either. Though in a review of Flight, Reed did reference Goodman's weight — but without any of the malice he felt toward McCarthy — saying Goodman's portrayal of a "pony-tailed, overweight hippie drug dealer" was "amusing." Reed did reserve harsher words for Seth Rogen, albeit not about his weight, in his review of The Guilt Trip, writing: "Mr. Rogen, who looks like Limburger cheese, has carved an inexplicable career out of playing dorks who make the word 'retarded' politically acceptable again."
This is not the first time McCarthy's weight has been attacked in the press. In 2010, a Marie Claire blogger criticized her show Mike & Molly, saying that overweight people shouldn't be intimate on TV because they gross her out.
McCarthy has not commented on Reed's review, but the Emmy winner and Oscar nominee has discussed her weight in the past. "Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size 6 and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought," McCarthy told Good Housekeeping last fall. "But I am weirdly healthy, so I don't beat myself up about it — it wouldn't help, and I don't want to pass that on to my girls."
What do you think of Reed's review? Was he out of line?