Life of The Party marks the third collaboration between husband and wife combo, Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. They need to stop making movies together.
While funny at times and avoiding the cinematic intersections that resemble terrible, Life of the Party is a wholly forgettable movie experience, relying on tired jokes, worn out cliches, and an urge to bring back humor that didn’t even exist in the first place.
What’s the story? McCarthy plays Deanna, a middle-aged woman who has given her entire life to the needs of her family, which centers around her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon). Deanna’s life gets spun around when her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) leaves her right after they drop Maddie off at college. What does a woman do when her life falls apart? In Deanna’s case, she goes back to college to finish her degree. The same college as her daughter. Go ahead and pour another drink, and I’ll continue.
The typical things happen. Deanna is the lovable yet overbearing mom that Maddie’s friends find adorable and sweet, so she collects twice as many friends as enemies. There’s the girl who spent eight years in a coma and another drop-dead gorgeous woman who doesn’t think highly of herself. They all bond quick with Deanna, who gets a makeover and sleeps with a guy half her age in trying to find herself. Did I mention her roommate is a closeted goth girl who may have a secret connection to someone? Yep, check.
What you have is an elementary practice that will ask for 12 dollars out of your pocket to see jokes that were done a whole lot better elsewhere. Falcone wrote the script with McCarthy, and it relies on all the strengths of the comedy actress, which is basically one thing: physical comedy. McCarthy’s unique set of skills is going back to the same well she’s used since Bridesmaids. It’s tiring, only working well when written by Paul Weitz and paired with a hilarious Jason Statham in Spy. It’s the same thing you saw in Falcone’s previous films, The Boss and Tammy.
A scene where Deanna, or “Dee Rocks” as her friends call her, has to give a verbal presentation in class, is funny. McCarthy gets to use her gross-out skills in showing us a woman facing her worst fear. Then, the movie goes back to the same-old playground of jokes. A late bit involving a musician falls flat and sends the film into a neat wrap-up.
I’ll be honest and admit I am not the biggest McCarthy fan, but she has found good content in films. When she isn’t the lead, her work isn’t as nauseating and plays better. When she plays against type, like in St. Vincent, she is good. She’s the musician that keeps getting summer-long tours, because movie fans find her relatable, so they let their comedy guard down. I am not impressed.
This will continue. Tammy grossed $100 million worldwide and The Boss made $64 million, both on budgets less than $30 million. Why would they stop making movies if they are making money? Who cares if Rotten Tomatoes rated the films at 22% and 24%, respectively? One day, they’ll make a good movie-or movie fans will call their bluff.
Life of The Party is like drinking a milkshake on an empty stomach. It looks great on the menu and you trust the stomach to break it down, but in the end, you are in bed praying never again. Only it will happen again. Falcone and McCarthy are developing another comedy, Superintelligence, for 2019. I’ll probably review it. Hopefully, the movie won’t be a waste of my time.
Watch this movie when you are riding in the backseat of an overstuffed car during a road trip on an old laptop that freezes frequently. That way, you may get disgruntled enough to not make it to the end of this stinker.
Otherwise, I’d skip it all together.