‘Life of the Party’ | Movie Review - Republic-Times | News

‘Life of the Party’ | Movie Review

By on May 10, 2018 at 11:32 am

McCarthy Tries Her Best to Be the ‘Life of the Party’

If you are like me, your first question after seeing this movie will be: “Where did they get the idea for this title?” It just doesn’t fit.

I want so much to like everything Melissa McCarthy does. She is a brilliant comic and everyone loves her. Even in poor movies, she shines. I feel badly for her. I am such a fan, though, I feel as though I’ll continue to give her the benefit of the doubt. I hope to be pleasantly surprised someday, and possibly see her appear in something that works. I keep thinking we’ll see some of the same brilliance we saw in “Identity Thief” or “The Heat,” or her breakout role from “Bridesmaids.”

“Life of the Party” tells the story of Deanna (McCarthy), whose lame-o husband dumps her for another woman. Deanna heads back to college to finally graduate, and along the way is drawn into her daughter’s group of friends. She deals with roommates, parties, public speaking and even a “frat boy” romance.

McCarthy tries her best and still manages to be the biggest bright spot in the movie. However, even with her obvious improv-style and the ability to evoke sympathy, empathy, and hilarity at the same time, she can’t save this movie.

Even though I think McCarthy is a fantastic actress, her metamorphosis from goofy-sweatshirt mom to hip sorority chick is too fast and too complete; and so abrupt that it’s unbelievable. She looks wonderful, by the way, but the romance between Deanna and the frat boy might even be, in the words of another reviewer, “icky.” Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”) is fun and funny as Deanna’s mother, but she is underused in the movie as one would expect. There are some good moments from Deanna’s best friend, played by Maya Rudolph, and her weird roommate, played by Heidi Gardner. However, both of them also have awkward scenes, or scenes that don’t make a lick of sense. That can be said for scenes and characters throughout the movie. The rest of the cast is unforgettable, although some of the sorority gals do an admirable job and we may see some of them again.

I could waste a lot of time trying to find some good in this movie, but I’ll stop. It’s too long, jokes fall flat, and much of it seems incredibly contrived. It’s  really awful. Throughout the movie, I kept saying “That wasn’t funny. That was stupid. What the heck?” I noticed the only people who were laughing and having a good time were the folks who bought cocktails in the lobby.

McCarthy should keep making movies, but I’d recommend trying to find better material and another director. Her last few pictures with husband Ben Falcone have also been stinkers; remember “Tammy” and “The Boss?” I wish she could find good material with good direction, allowing McCarthy to show us the good stuff. I’ll remain optimistic.

For this one, however, don’t spend the money. In fact, wait to see it on a movie channel’s free preview weekend. I just heard the Falcone/McCarthy team have another one coming out in 2019. It’s called “Margie Claus.” A Christmas comedy.

Lord, give us strength.

This movie is rated PG-13 for sexual content, drug use, and crass humor. Running time is 105 minutes. My grade is a very generous D+.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.