Review: Life of the Party

Life of the Party
5 10

PLOT: After her husband leaves her for another woman, a housewife (Melissa McCarthy) joins her daughter at college, where she ends up befriending her sorority sisters.

REVIEW: Melissa McCarthy is a supremely talented comedienne, as well as a top-notch dramatic actress. Yet, for every good vehicle she takes on, there are more than a few bad ones that pad out her filmography, and LIFE OF THE PARTY is one of those. Co-written by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone (who also directs), this follows their previous TAMMY and THE BOSS, but is less interesting, in that it doesn’t at least give her an interesting caricature to play. Rather, this is a safe, timid, watered-down version of Rodney Dangerfield’s BACK TO SCHOOL, and only good for very modest laughs, if any at all.

McCarthy’s likability is just about the only thing that carries this to the closing credits, with it a predictable, safe romp that’s immediately disposable. She plays a sweet-natured housewife who, years ago, dropped out of university to raise her daughter. Her reward? On the day they drop their daughter (Molly Gordon) off to college, the heel husband (Matt Walsh), announces he’s leaving her for another woman (Julie Bowen) and, with the assets in his name, is going to leave her penniless. Nevermind the fact that no court in the world would allow him to leave her destitute - but I digress.

Encouraged by her folks (Stephen Root & Jacki Weaver) and best pal (Maya Rudolph), she returns to school to finish her degree, but, in the grand tradition of movie versions of college, can’t resist the lure of party-hearty. McCarthy’s having fun, but it’s all so inoffensive that LIFE OF THE PARTY barely delivers any decent belly laughs. Rather, it comes off like a warmed-over eighties sitcom, with any edge sanded down to nothing. Only a twist in the identity of a young frat brother she seduces really pays off and teases a naughtier movie that would have been a lot more fun.

However, the supporting cast is quite decent, with the sorority sisters getting some good material. Gillian Jacobs plays one, with her age explained by the fact that she’s only recently emerged from an eight-year coma. Jacobs, who usually plays whip-smart characters, has fun playing someone a little more bobble-headed, and her chemistry with McCarthy is good. Meanwhile, Maya Rudolph steals every scene as her acid-tongued best pal, but she’s not in it nearly enough (it feels more like an extended cameo).

Walking out of LIFE OF THE PARTY, I immediately felt like the film was slipping away from me, making it the very definition of a disposable studio comedy. Even if you’re starved for laughs, this is eminently skippable. It’s not atrocious but boy oh boy is it forgettable.

Source: JoBlo.com



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