New York Observer Critic Calls Melissa McCarthy “Tractor-Sized,” “Hippo” in “Identity Thief” Review

Readers verbally attack critic for comments on McCarthy’s Weight

New York Observer’s longtime film critic Rex Reed referred to actress Melissa McCarthy as “tractor-sized” as well as a “hippo” and a “humongous creep” in his recent review of the film “Identity Thief."

Reader's didn't respond positively to Reed's snark.

Reed, a critic for decades, an author of eight books and a former syndicated television host, also attacked McCarthy's comedic style.

“McCarthy (Bridesmaids) is a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success,” he said in the review. 

Readers responded in numbers, tallying 312 comments. The high response is unusual for Reed’s work. His last two articles, reviews of thrillers “Would You Rather” and “Side Effects,” garnered just seven combined comments as of Friday afternoon.

“Rex Reed, what is wrong with you? What benefit is there to attacking Melissa McCarthy personally when you're supposed to be talking about the quality of the film? There are so few people you can count on in this over-saturated industry for true film criticism, and you just ruined any remaining shreds of credibility you had,” reader Grae Drake said in a comment.

The comments continued on other social media networks such as Twitter as well. Many, were not endorsements of Reed's work.

"Rex Reed being gored in a hippo stampede would be an appropriate karmic retribution," Twitter user @pajiba said.

McCarthy’s problems with her weight have been well documented. Last fall, the Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner spoke with Good Housekeeping about it and pulled no punches.

"Sometimes I wish I were just magically a size six and I never had to give [my weight] a single thought," McCarthy, 42, told Good Housekeeping. "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."

Some readers, so disgusted with Reed’s review, have vowed to stay away from the publication altogether.

“Wow, this review is seriously offensive,” reader Asia Wall said in the comments section of the review. “Calling McCarthy a tractor-sized hippo? Remind me never to read The Observer again.”

Contact Us