“Life of the Party” stars Melissa McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Debby Ryan, Stephen Root, and Jacki Weaver. Released on May 11, 2018, the film is about a mother who attends her daughter's college.
The film is directed by Ben Falcone, who also directed “Tammy” and “The Boss”. This weekend’s set of releases is celebrating the joys of being a mother or having a mother. Whether they’re tough, kind, embarrassing, or hilarious, mothers are the best things that children could ever asked for. The first mother-related film I’ll be talking about today is the latest comedy from the husband-wife duo, McCarthy and Falcone, who have been displaying their share of laughs to their audiences in their last two comedies. Despite the weak critical receptions, their films managed to become minor financial successes, and this film looks like it might continue that trend. The only question I had for it is this: is it any good?
Starting things off with the positives, Melissa McCarthy once again delivered a very likable performance as Deanna Miles, a mother who decides to go back to college after getting a divorce from her husband. When she’s not doing her usual physical comedy tropes that are either goofy or embarrassing, she brought plenty of fun and charm that blends well with her sense of humor. Maya Rudolph was also good in her role as Deanna’s best friend, Christine, although it felt like she’s trying a bit too hard in upstaging McCarthy during a couple of scenes. The story represents a few moments that relate to what women experience during their years in college. While there were some elements that could’ve been portrayed a bit better, including the relationship between Deanna and her daughter, Maddie (played by Molly Gordon), I thought Ben Falcone did a suitable job at expressing this type of material. Because the film is aimed towards a female audience, you can expect a lot of jokes that only women will get. I can not tell you how many times people laughed at something that I didn’t think was that funny, including the dialogue between the characters. I found a few scenes that were quite hilarious, and that’s about it. The rest of the humor in this film range from awkward to “why is this funny?”, which can be a tough sell for someone outside of its target audience. I took my mother to see this with me, and she, along with the rest of the female audience, was cracking up a storm throughout the entire film. That pretty much sums up what the humor is aiming for. Like Falcone’s other films, “Life of the Party” was having a bit of a pickle in maintaining its comedic flow throughout the entire duration, which is something that Falcone should improve on while working on his upcoming projects.
Overall, “Life of the Party” showcases McCarthy’s likable talent and a charming portrayal of women and their college lives. However, in terms of its execution on some plot elements and the humor, it’s about as shameful as having your actual mom attend the same college as you. I enjoyed it for what it is, but when it comes to attracting both men and women, it’s the type of effort that fails to receive a passing grade. If you’re a fan of McCarthy’s other films, you’re going to have a fun time with this one.