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Reviewer Taken to Task for Calling Melissa McCarthy a 'Hippo'

Movie Critic Rex Reed criticized the Plainfield native's weight in a review of her recent movie, "Identity Thief."

On Tuesday morning, National Public Radio listeners heard about a movie review of "Identity Theft" that attacked not only the movie, but also actress and Plainfield native Melissa McCarthy. Tony Sarabia, a host at the Chicago-based NPR station WBEZ (91.5-FM), talked to Nico Lang, who posted a blog on the NPR Web site taking Rex Reed to task for his scathing review.

Among other things, Lang had this to say:

"...McCarthy paid her dues, working her way up through The Groundlings and character acting in everything from Gilmore Girls to Samantha Who and The Back-Up Plan."

In his original New York Observer review, Reed referred to McCarthy as "cacophonous and tractor-sized" as well as saying she is a "gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success."

The review, which was dated Feb. 5, has seen the response of many media outlets, including the Huffington Post. On Feb. 8, Ashbey Riley referred to what Reed did as fat shaming and raised the question of a double standard when it comes to obesity in women versus men. On Feb. 10, a post by Juliet Jeske also asks about the discrepency and points out what she sees as a need for women of real body size to be in Hollywood. Lastly, on Feb. 15, the Huffington Post reported that McCarthy's cousin, Jenny McCarthy has come to the defense of the Plainfield native,

"Anyone to attack like that is just wrong and hurtful," she said in the story, "and it doesn't do anyone any good. Not even Rex Reed." Adding, "She's very, very, very talented and people know that. So, he can go to hell."

McCarthy is not only from Plainfield, but has admitted using a 5th grade teacher as inspiration in her role on Mike and Molly.

For her part, McCarthy has not responded to the review. But Reed has.

"I have too many friends that have died of obesity-related illnesses, heart problems and diabetes. … I have helped people try to lose weight, and I don't find this to be the subject of a lot of humor," Reed said according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter.

So, we put the question to you, Patch readers:

What did you think of the Rex Reed review of "Identity Thief"? Tell us in the comments.

Mark Donahue February 20, 2013 at 09:55 PM
I have not seen this movie because it's supposed to be awful. Of course what he said is terrible, and should have been kept in his head. No excuses. Personally, I have only seen her in the movie Bridesmaids. I hated her character, and found the movie terrible unfunny. Just because a woman is large does not mean that her character should only center around that. Ms. McCarthy seems to have talent, but she needs to pick better roles. I put this on lazy writers, too, who think mocking fat people is funny.
Nathel Betzwiser February 20, 2013 at 10:43 PM
I think Melissa is a very taented and beautifu person. I came from Plainfield originally and live in Minooka now, which is close; Never had the privilege of meeting her but would like to have met her. It just goes to show you that you don't have to be skinny to be talented and beautiful. Keep going Melissa , you are great.
Patricia February 21, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Rex Reed was not trying to "save her life", he was bullying. It should have not mattered what size, color or gender she is, what should have mattered is the movie and her performance. Stand up against Bullies! He should apologize!
ron February 24, 2013 at 07:50 PM
I walked out of the Movie Identity thief because her character was so annoying..she needs to stop playing these roles. It makes us fat people look really bad!
Bill Konn February 24, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Sometimes Freedom of the Press is a little too free. Reed needs to take a long look into a mirror, and lets see if he can come up with a comment then.

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