When Melissa McCarthy didn’t lash back after New York Observer film critic Rex Reed’s out-of-bounds review of Identity Thief back in February — in which out of the blue and most cruelly he called the actress “tractor-sized” and “a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success” — Deadline’s Mike Fleming did. (So did her Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, who ended a Twitter post on the matter thusly: I cordially invite Mr. Rex Reed to go fuck himself”.) McCarthy, the most on-fire female comedic actor going right now (she just booked another biggie today, the DreamWorks Animation pic B.O.O. opposite Seth Rogen), finally broke her silence on the topic. It came today in a NY Times interview tied to her Fox movie The Heat, co-starring Sandra Bullock, which opens June 28. From the NYT:

When Ms. McCarthy was asked about the review over lunch in April, her characteristically cheerful tone evaporated. In a softer voice, she said her initial reaction to reading it had been “Really?” and then, she said, “Why would someone O.K. that?”

Without mentioning the name of its author, Ms. McCarthy said: “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. 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.”

Had this occurred when she was 20, Ms. McCarthy said, “it may have crushed me.” But now, as a mother raising two young daughters in “a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia,” she said articles like that “just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, ‘That doesn’t reflect on me.’ ”

“That makes it more true,” she said. “It means you don’t actually look good enough.”