Life of the Party

Life of the Party focuses on Deanna, (Melissa McCarthy) as she goes back to college. To sum up everything wrong with this film in a few words, it is at best a 20-minute comedy sketch, not a 110-minute film. The film’s gravest sin is that is it is not funny, at all. The humour misses it marks every time, ranging from cringey to downright awful. This film has a similar premise to Will Ferrell’s Old School, but that film does it so much better in nearly every way. Whilst both are crude in terms of humour, at least the characters in Old School are likeable, whereas in this they are all either barely even two dimensional, or are just incredibly annoying. This annoyance is best expressed by McCarthy’s character of Deanna, who is shrill and annoying from the get-go. McCarthy plays the character of the overbearing mother to the nth degree, being truly over the top with it, and never in a good way: this is best shown when Deanna must do some public speaking and she starts profusely sweating and then passes out. Furthermore, the lines for her character are just terrible and somewhat contradictory, as she is supposed to be a great mother, yet she can’t tell that in the beginning her daughter, with whom she now shares a college, doesn’t want her there at all. What’s more, the emotional beats between Deanna and her daughter Maddie, (Molly Gordon), don’t feel earned at all instead they feel incredibly forced and unnatural, being the furthest thing from reality. McCarthy’s Deanna is just not likeable in any way and you almost end up rooting for her ex-husband Dan, (Matt Walsh) who is the film’s villain, just because of how unlikeable she is. The direction by Ben Falcone is boring and lifeless, with this film being unable to, at any point, justify its existence aside from being another trash comedy. There are times when the film tries to be clever by inverting tropes, such as when Deanna starts sleeping with Jack who is her junior, clearly an inversion of the usual trope that would see the man sleeping with the younger woman. However, these inversions don’t work, at all, being far too obvious and, at times even a little weird; especially with the late in the game plot twist. Finally, the third act cameo by Christina Aguilera feels tacked on for the sake of it. In the lead up to her cameo, there are a lot of lines of dialogue about Christina Aguilera, with it feeling it some strange sort of way like human product placement. I was going to give this film my first 0/5 but, there was one saving grace, albeit a small one. This was Helen, (Gillian Jacobs). Jacobs is effortlessly charming in every scene she is in, completely stealing the show.
Overall don’t go and see this film, please don’t waste your money, with so many better comedies out this year it almost seems like hearsay to give this lazy, dated, dumb comedy any of your time.
We all deserve better than this.
Reviewed by Luke
Ps Truth or Dare was better than this and, that is my lowest rated film so far.

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