Life of the Party

Written by Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone who also directed 2014’s Tammy and 2016’s The Boss, Life of the Party is a good-natured average comedy that has moments of laughter but struggles to fully use the comedic talents of star Melissa McCarthy. In the same vein of Rodney Dangerfield’s classic 1986 comedy Back to School, the story involves a middle-aged mother named Deanna, played by Melissa McCarthy, who decides to finish college with her daughter after she learns her husband played by Veep’s Matt Walsh is leaving her for his mistress. She eagerly returns to her alma mater to finish her degree in archeology but is faced with her less-than-enthusiastic daughter Maddie who initially wants nothing to do with her mother going to the same fictional Decatur University. Deanna’s best friend and the movie’s funniest character Christine, played by Saturday Night Live alumnus Maya Rudolph, vocally encourages Deanna to take part in the wild aspects of college. Deanna who is nicknamed Dee-Rock quickly develops close friendships with her daughter’s sorority sisters, including the older Helen who is played by comedian Gillian Jacobs. She even enters into an intimate relationship with a fraternity classmate named Jack who we later learn has a rather surprising parent. The film is filled with the usual antics associated with college comedies with the major exception that it involves a group of women. Overall, I was rather disappointed with the movie that had such promise with such a charismatic and funny actress as Melissa McCarthy; it suffered from a mostly unoriginal script that tried too hard to be a silly comedy and at the same time a sweet film about a mother-daughter relationship.

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