Life Of The Party - This Movie Does Not Rock. Big Time. Huge. Enormous
Dir: Ben Falcone
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Debby Ryan, Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs, Luke Benward
Will someone please – for the love of God! – stop Melissa McCarthy working with her husband??!! Put her in just about any other movie – Bridesmaids, The Heat, even the underwhelming Spy – and she delivers. Get her co-writing and handing the directing reigns over to him indoors, Ben Falcone, and you get Tammy. The Boss. This piece of…well, let’s just call this not so much her finest hour, as her worst hour 45.
There are a lot of parties in Life Of The Party – she’s a middle aged mum who goes back to her college, her daughter’s college no less – and you know college types – they love a party. In fact just about every set piece sees this movie careening from one party to another – keggers, “jazz” parties (with “jazz” choccies), a wedding party, a fund-raising party which Christine Aguilera crashes – you’d think it was all those wild college kids did. But not true – according to the school of McCarthy/Falcone – they also learn life lessons, drop in female empowerment messages that feel so tacked on at the last minute as to be almost insulting (did we really say ”almost”?) Oh, and grow. Boy, do these people grow.
Which is odd, because by the end they are as profoundly one-dimensional and gratuitous as they first appeared on those pages that Falcone and his wife first printed out – and which should have promptly hit the fireplace, with McCarthy, her cast, and – especially – her director failing at every turn to breathe even the slightest breath into anyone or anything. (To be totally fair, Jacobs and Rudolph do try their best, but this is a fixed race from the off.) It aims to evoke the spirit of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s school of American comedy movie – Animal House and, more so, Back To School being clear references, but feels more like the hackneyed sitcoms of the early 1950s. Only with all the charm of those sucked dry.
The Life Of The Party is lifeless and lamentable. Trite in both its messages and its delivery of same and, more than anything, painfully, painfully unfunny. At the risk of sounding sexist – Ms McCarthy, get back to working with talented people and not just family members you feel obliged to employ. And Mr Falcone - shut up and get back in the kitchen, bitch!
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