Watson Reviews: Life of the Party (Spoiler Free)

I haven’t been impressed with McCarthy since Spy. Pairing her with her husband typically produces her worst performances. Could they break the cold streak?

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

After dropping out of college to raise her daughter, Deanna Miles is left with little life outside her family.

At the start of her daughter Maddie’s senior year in college, Deanna’s husband Dan leaves her for another woman.

Encouraged by her friends and family, Deanna enrolls in Maddie’s college to finish her degree; bonding with Maddie and her friends.

WHAT WORKED:

  • We can all use more Gillian Jacobs.  I just binged through the TV show (I know…) Community and I needed more Gillian Jacobs in my life.  She was charming here as a slightly older sorority sister; owing to her spending eight years in a coma.  She was goofy, sweet, and put just enough Community quirkiness to make the character fun to watch.
  • The chemistry between McCarthy and the girls is on point. Usually, a comedy would get its conflict by making her daughter and her friends annoyed that Deanna is around them.  Here, that isn’t the case and it is a silver lining to a rain cloud of a film.  The girls genuinely seemed to like Deanna and were very supportive of her.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK:

  • The comedy is stale. It really just wasn’t funny.  This area has been explored before and Life of the Party really doesn’t add much to the concept.  I really like McCarthy less and less each new film.
  • Ben Falcone written and directed projects are McCarthy’s worst. One of the big millstones around McCarthy’s career seems to be her writer-director husband Ben Falcone.  Calling him a director comes with an asterisk, because he ONLY directs films in which his superstar wife has the lead.  His previous films, Tammy and The Boss are among her worst.  She needs talent around her and not nepotism.
  • Maya Rudolph gets nothing to work with. I usually like Rudolph but here she is really a show killer.  We have seen her great before.  It must be the script.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

At least 2 of the points I am giving this movie stem from my affection for Gillian Jacobs.  If it weren’t for her, there wouldn’t have been much for me to like here.  McCarthy needs to really turn a corner for her career or she will be back on TV sitcoms pretty soon… and Gillian Jacobs already has a show and can’t save her there…

Overall, I give Life of the Party a score of 4Blown Out Knees At Six Flags out of 10.

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