Movie Reviews

Life of the Party – The Embarrassing Mother of College Comedies

You’ve seen this one before.

Synopsis: When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna turns regret into re-set by going back to college…landing in the same class and school as her daughter, who’s not entirely sold on the idea.  Plunging headlong into the campus experience, the increasingly outspoken Deanna—now Dee Rock—embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected. (Warner Bros.)

Starring: Melissa McCarthyGillian Jacobsand Maya Rudolph

Writers: Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy

Director: Ben Falcone

Rating: PG (Canada)/PG-13 (United States)

Running Time: 105mins

Trailer:

For showtimes and more, check out Life of the Party on movietimes.com.

Melissa McCarthy has pretty much played the same outrageous character throughout her career with varying results, often alternating between good and bad films, and this time is no different with her new film, Life of the Party. This time around, she takes an equally outrageous character, a woman named Deanna, to college to finish her final year after her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) wanted a divorce. The college she was returning to was happened to be the same college as her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon).

Absolutely nothing about this film will come as a surprise to anyone who has seen any Melissa McCarthy comedy. The actual story itself won’t come as much of a surprise either and neither was rather predictable throughout with all the expected college comedy and generation gap cliches along the way as well as the gimmick of a mother and daughter at the same college. Though these elements weren’t original by any means, they did bring on the rare funny moment but badly missed otherwise.

The weakest element was the generational gap because Deanna stuck out a little too much here. While that was obviously the point, it didn’t quite work here as she never seemed to fit within the college. Her relationships with the other college students were never believable enough and most of the humor bordered on cringe-worthy which may have also been the point too but it just wasn’t funny. However, her sort of coming of age story was okay to watch despite its predictable nature.

There wasn’t much character development to be had here which made it hard to care about much. The other characters, like a sorority sister named Helen (Jacobs), felt like props for the film’s comedy than actual characters. While it could have taught a lesson through Deanna, it somehow sent the wrong message as it only seemed interesting in mostly depicting partying (hence the title) and other various hijinks instead of finding the right balance between comedy and story or there lackof.

The performances were okay across the board with McCarthy being the standout by default as Deanna. Deanna was like most characters that she had ever played but she was still somewhat compelling. In fact, she wasn’t even the funniest character in the film, Maya Rudolph as Deanna’s friend Christine was hilarious to watch and had some great lines. Both McCarthy and Rudolph had great chemistry, however, McCarthy lacked chemistry with everyone else.

Overall, this was a mediocre, unoriginal comedy that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for anybody. It had a few funny moments but for the most part, was an unfunny mess, led by an okay performance of the same character that Melissa McCarthy has played in countless other comedies.

Score: 5/10

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