WARNER BROS. PICTURES (2017)

 

Director: Ben Falcone

 

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Molly Gordon, Stephen Root, Jacki Weaver, Luke Benward

McCarthy and Falcone together cinematically can only mean one thing...

 

The real-life husband and wife duo team up once more after the car crashes known as Tammy and The Boss - both of which were just bad. I'm sure living in their household must be a hoot but their movies aren't. Life of the Party was next up to attempt to break the hoodoo and deliver a funny, entertaining comedy - they do say third time lucky, right?

Not this time.

The movie follows newly-divorced Deanna (McCarthy) as she re-enrolls into college to finish her Archaeology degree – the same college attended by her daughter Maddie (Gordon). Of course, college is full of guys, booze, parties (obviously), and plenty of totally awks moments and naturally, Maddie is outraged. However, seeing her mum happy and hooking up with guys half her age (at least she’s not a cheat like her dad) changes Maddie’s mind and the story rolls on to its predictable finish. Oh, and there’s a ‘scare’ when Deanna can’t afford the tuition fees and also Christina Aguilera is there too. OH, there’s also the roomies with issues, snide ex-husband, an actual mean girl – if you can stereotype it, it’s in Life of the Party.

 

That’s the main problem, everything feels recycled and, to be honest, MOR – as if that was the intent from the get-go. A lot of similar comedies suffer from the same issues, however, some have the charm to pull it off and get away with it. Melissa McCarthy tries here, she always tries, but the cliché and frankly bad storytelling prohibits her having any real effect. Of course, she has some great lines throughout but she is let down by everything else. Not necessarily the cast, who range from good (Benward) to vanilla (Walsh, Jacobs, Gordon, most others) but the lack of any real laughs or urgency.

 

There’s a St. Paul and the Broken Bones song in the movie though, so that’s cool.

 

By the time the end of Life of the Party comes, you’ll be worn out from having correctly assumed the plot beats before they happen and positively sighed out when the saccharine conclusion is rolled out. There’s just too much here that feels cheap and lazy to really be effective. A few good laughs from McCarthy can’t save this throwaway attempt and I just can't wait to see what’s next from Falcone. Oh look, it’s another team up with McCarthy (2019's Super Intelligence) YAY!

August 15th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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