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Melissa McCarthy responds to critic's 'hippo,' 'tractor-sized' slams

Image: Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy.Today

When Melissa McCarthy's comedy "Identity Thief" hit theaters earlier this year, it met mixed reviews. Some critics found it hilarious; for others, the jokes fell flat.

But one reviewer barely bothered to focus on the film at all. When veteran film critic Rex Reed dished out his take, he set his sights on criticizing McCarthy, calling the leading lady "obese and obnoxious with equal success."

In fact, that barb was practically kind compared to what else he had to say. He also referred to McCarthy as a "female hippo," called her "cacophonous, tractor-sized." And then, after the film found box office success, he claimed the hubbub his comments stirred was actually responsible for the big draw.

As for McCarthy, she didn't take the bait, allowing the controversy to pass without a word. But now, over four months later and with the buzz behind her, the actress has something to say.

In an recent interview with the New York Times, she opened up about the infamous review.

"Really?" she said, recalling her initial reaction to the piece. "Why would someone OK that?"

During her chat with the Times, McCarthy never mentioned Reed by name, but did give her impression of him in the wake of the review.

"I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate," she said. "I just thought, that's someone who's in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs."

While she said she didn't allow Reed's comments to get her down, McCarthy admitted that if the incident had taken place when she was younger, it would have left her "crushed."

Reed gave his reaction to the controversy shortly after his initial review. In an interview with WOR-AM, he said, "Don't make me a villain. … She's is crying all the way to the bank!"