500 Days Of Film Reviews Life Of The Party Starring Melissa McCarthy
When her husband suddenly dumps her, longtime dedicated housewife Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) 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 called Dee Rock - embraces freedom, fun and frat boys on her own terms, finding her true self in a senior year no one ever expected.
Is It Any Good?
Your enjoyment of Life Of The Party will very much depend on your appreciation of Melissa McCarthy. This is very much her movie - she co-wrote it together with her husband (and director of the film) Ben Falcone.
If, like me, you enjoy her brand of (typically physical) comedy then you will have a good time. However, if you do not find McCarthy funny, boy are you in trouble for there is precious little else on offer here.
I am - ever since The Gilmore Girls - a McCarthy fan. I love the way she can blend (sometimes
outrageous) hilarity with endearing self depreciation. She has so much potential and energy that it just feels a shame that (all too often) she isn't better served by higher quality material.
Still, Life Of The Party doesn’t set out to impress us with the depth or complexity of its narrative. Indeed, there is barely any story (or emotional stakes of any kind) here. Instead, Falcone’s movie just aims to give us a good time. To make us laugh at some, ultimately forgettable, nonsense and send us on our way.
Watched with this (albeit low expectation) in mind, there is plenty to enjoy. Indeed, I found myself in tears of laughter at Deanna’s antics during one particular scene. In addition, I loved any time in the film when McCarthy was paired with Maya Rudolph. I could watch these two ladies for hours.
Unlike many comedies today, Life Of The Party has a good heart. Yes, it gets rather sickly sweet at times (and McCarthy’s performance is dangerously close to grating), but there is no meanness (apart from one rather ill judged wedding sequence) or, thankfully, gross-out humour.
So far, so harmless. However, with the talent of McCarthy and Falcone and the film’s impressive cast (Gillian Jacobs is a standout), it is hard not to feel a little disappointed that Life Of The Party couldn’t raise its game and dig a little deeper.
Most of the characters feel one dimensional - only there to service the plot and push Deanna from one crazy sequence to another. Meanwhile, the film hits every single ‘Back To School’ trope imaginable. Every. Single. One.
With all that said, I still enjoyed Life Of The Party. Yes, it’s derivative. Yes, it’s silly. Yes, it’s forgettable. But I had a good time at the cinema and, sometimes, that’s all you need.
This is the fourth film collaboration for husband/writer/director Ben Falcone and wife/writer/actress Melissa Mccarthy. (After Bridesmaids, Tammy and The Boss).
Have you seen Life Of The Party? If you have, what did you think of this movie? Let me know in the comments section below or over on Twitter (I’m @500DaysOfFilm).