There’s a fun movie where a middle aged person discovers a spouse’s infidelity and decides in a moment of regret to attend college with the couple’s child, much to the consternation of the offspring in question. Once enrolled, this nontraditional student becomes very popular both in class and at parties before learning some valuable life lessons.
Of course, that movie was Back to School. Life of the Party didn’t even have the Triple Lindy…
So, let’s be fair: Melissa McCarthy is a game comedic actress, and she does bring a high amount of energy and charm to any project. The problem with Life of the Party is the script (co-written by McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone, who also directed and appears briefly as an Uber driver) is much of the humor works off the idea of McCarthy as some sort of stereotypical sitcom mom interacting with her daughter, her daughter’s friends, and various other people on campus. The audience at my screening did enjoy some scenes, and I will admit the revelation of whom exactly McCarthy’s college-aged boyfriend turned out to be was a bit clever, but this movie felt like it wasn’t trying hard enough.
For example, McCarthy’s Deanna was popular on campus because…? Sure, she was nice and supportive to, like, everybody, but it didn’t make sense. Factor in how her character’s daughter couldn’t seem to make up her mind how she felt about attending college with her mom, and then you have some script problems. Sometimes that girl seemed way too quick to forget why she wasn’t happy to have her mom cramping her style. As it is, this is a movie that also wastes the talents of comedic actors like Matt Walsh, Maya Rudolph, Chris Parnell, Jacki Weaver, and Stephen Root. A little more coherence to the script and little less “Melissa McCarthy is just a square mom being cool!” and this could have been better. Six out of ten sexual Harry Potter references.
Oh, here’s the Triple Lindy.