Life of the Party

Life of the Party

In Theatres: 
May 11, 2018
Running Time: 
105 minutes

Ever since her breakthrough performance in 2011’s Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy has been very hit or miss when it comes to her comedy choices. For every hilarious Spy there’s at least a Tammy or two. Life of the Party is McCarthy’s latest film and reunites her once again with her husband director Ben Falcone following both Tammy and The Boss. Unfortunately, third time is not the charm for the husband and wife duo as Life of the Party pushes more towards Tammy than Bridesmaids on the comedic scale.


After dropping off her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) for her senior year of college, Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) finds out from her husband that he wants a divorce. Devastated by the news, she decides that she’s going to go back to college and finish her archaeology degree that she gave up on in order to start her family. Deanna has no difficulty in jumping right back into university life, making new friends with her daughter’s sorority sisters, and picking up where she left off all those years ago.


The idea of an older person returning to college is nothing new to the world of entertainment, and Life of the Party has an uphill battle going against it right from the start. Melissa McCarthy has proven herself to be funny, yet there’s something about this film that makes everything feel so lifeless. The humor rarely lands. Instead it creates these awkward scenes that go on for far too long.


Gillian Jacobs’ Helen was the most confusing of all. She’s one of the sorority sisters who befriends Deanna calling her Dee Rock, and is also older than your typical student because she spent eight years in a coma. Her interactions, particularly in the classroom, are strange due to these awkward pauses and weird reactions like maybe she isn’t all there after being in a coma for so long. It honestly feels like some parts of the story were cut out but jokes were mistakenly left in, resulting in this disconnect throughout the film.


There are a few solid laughs in Life of the Party but they are few and far between. Maya Rudolph excels as Deana’s best friend Christine, and there’s a hilarious dinner scene with everyone that’s just as shocking as it is funny. It’s these moments where Melissa McCarthy shines, and it’s unfortunate that there are not more of them.


There was a time when I was excited for another Melissa McCarthy film but after another misfire with Life of the Party I’m more hesitant whenever her name comes up in the casting credits and even more so if Ben Falcone is the director.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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