As much as I love Melissa McCarthy and most of the films she stars in, I do wish she stops starring in movies directed by her husband, Ben Falcone. He seems like a nice and funny man, but he’s honestly not funny when it comes to writing and directing comedies because his previous two films, 2014’s Tammy and 2016’s The Boss were pretty bad. But that’s not stopping him since their third collaboration Life of the Party will sure to please other, while others won’t enjoy that at all. Did I think it was passable?
What’s the Story?: Dumped by her husband, Deanna regrets that she didn’t finish her time in college. After having a mid-life crisis, she decided to go back to the same school as her daughter to get her degree and experience college life in new functions.
Just from describing and plot and what it looked like from the trailer, everyone can look at this and call Life of the Party a remake of the classic Rodney Dangerfield’s 1986 comedy Back to School. Because of that, it looked like it going to be another lame college comedy that won’t live up with standards when we already have movies like Old School to make us laugh. And while Life of the Party doesn’t end up becoming the worst movie to come out this summer surprisingly, it lacks the quality of most comedies needs.
At least McCarthy gets to play a likable character this time unlike the last two. There’s a functional relationship between her and her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) for the time being. I mean, her complications that going to back to college doesn’t seem like during a midlife crisis. Though her husband (Matt Walsh) stated that he’s been cheating on her with a real-estate agent (Julie Bowen), maybe Deanna wants to better her life. She does come off as the annoying mother being over-the-moon excited about living the college lifestyle but didn’t get on my nerves.
She does eventually get along with Maddie’s friends and they are cool with her mom being the way she is. Probably the best out of the group was Gillian Jacobs (Community) who plays one of the sorority sisters who might be the Resident Director, but she’s older due to being in a coma for eight years.
There isn’t much of a plot to be found in Life of the Party. Because of the script, written by Falcone and McCarthy, most scenes don’t have real set-up and almost forgotten later on. It has its cliche characters like the popular mean girl (Debby Ryan) who will pick on Deanna for being old; the weird goth roommate (SNL’s Heidi Gardner); and the cute frat boy (Luke Benward) that she hooks up with while there. With these type of comedies, it’s easily predictable to know how characters would react and odd comedic timing. The problem with Life of the Party is that the situations that are dealt with don’t rely on the drama that much with everybody being forgiven the next scene.
But was this movie funny? No, not really. None of the jokes landed with most of them not going for the full joke. Maybe it’s because of the PG-13 rating. I believe the only time I actually laughed was because of Maya Rudolph’s character Christine, Deanna’s best friend. Speaking of which, when is she gonna headline her own movie? The rest of the humor just wasn’t consistent with its laughs. And there’s this long, drawn-out scene where Deanna has trouble with public speaking and while he’s giving her oral presentation in her archaeology class, she sweats profusely. And they went on WAY too long wasn’t a single grin.
Something went into my mind as I was watching this: When McCarthy is working on movies with director Paul Feig, they are usually good. With Falcone, it really doesn’t. But to be honest, I was expecting to just hate Life of the Party, and I didn’t. It wasn’t a good comedy by any stretch of imagination, but it was the best movie to come from Falcone/McCarthy (not saying a lot). So thanks, Life of the Party, I should be watching Back to School instead.
Life of the Party offers some charm to this college comedy, though little laughs and a bland, unoriginal plot isn’t enough. Grade: C