Life of the Party

 

star

 


Melissa McCarthy heads back to college in a lazy, implausible and frankly excruciating sitcom.

 
Life of the Party

Melissa McCarthy (centre) shows Molly Gordon, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis and Debby Ryan how to party

 

If there’s any life in this party, it’s not as we know it, Jim. Moments after her husband leaves her for an upgraded model, devoted housewife and doting mother Deanna Miles heads back to college to fulfil her vocation. And to really hurl the cat among the pigeons, she enrols at her own daughter’s alma mater. Then, taking a leaf out of Bluto Blutarsky's ledger – and all things Animal House – Deanna takes to the sorority life like a pig to the trough. Naturally, she’s an embarrassment to her daughter, but is a hit with the jocks, who are drawn to her fun-loving ways and ample bosom…

 

Comedy, however broad, requires some grounding in reality and an element of surprise if it is to muster a periodic smile. Co-scripted and co-produced by the husband-and-wife team of Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy, and directed by the former and starring the latter, Life of the Party occupies a parallel universe of sitcom caricatures. This is a world in which many of the students look way beyond graduation age (Deanne’s roommate is played by the 34-year-old actress Heidi Gardner) and the rest are improbably super-gorgeous babes. The latter are required to do little than look amazed, but exaggerated reaction shots will only get a comedy so far. Following the similarly themed Back to School (with Rodney Dangerfield), Billy Madison (with Adam Sandler) and Jack (with Robin Williams), the film is not even original. Melissa McCarthy really needs to change her shtick, while her one-note, whiny delivery is becoming exasperating. Throw in Fil Eisler’s pointless muzakal score and you have one of the laziest, grindingly unfunny and most dispiriting films of the year.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Molly Gordon, Stephen Root, Jacki Weaver, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Debby Ryan, Luke Bednward, Jimmy O. Yang, Yani Simone, Chris Parnell, Damon Jones, Heidi Gardner, Christina Aguilera, Ben Falcone.

 

Dir Ben Falcone, Pro Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy and Chris Henchy, Screenplay Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy, Ph Julio Macat, Pro Des Rusty Smith, Ed Brian Olds, Music Fil Eisler.

 

New Line Cinema/On the Day Productions-Warner Brothers.

104 mins. USA. 2018. Rel: 10 May 2018. Cert. 12A.