Melissa McCarthy in “Life of the Party.” (Warner Bros)
A bubbly house-wife and mother gets dumped as she’s dropping her daughter off for senior year at college. Upset in more ways that one, she decides to enroll in the same college to finish out her own senior year, a year she was forced to quit when she was pregnant. Her obscenely shallow husband doesn’t soften the blow after asking for the divorce, adding he’s been having an affair with a posh real-estate agent and considers this new woman a substantial “upgrade”.
While there are moments of hilarity, this film veers too often into very familiar territory. We have most certainly seen this before. And before that. And before that too.
So let’s focus on the positive, shall we?
Stand out shout outs:
Maya Rudolph. Girrrrrl, Maya just makes everything BETTER. Like, EVERYTHING. Never mind that she’s married to filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, our girl is in an all-girl Prince cover band called PRINCESS! She can do NO wrong in my world. Best scene in the entire movie, hands down, involves Maya’s character being VERY proud of her best friend (Melissa McCarthy) and no, it’s not the scene from the trailers. I may have peed my pants laughing so hard. MAY HAVE.
I’m not really spoiling the movie by telling you there’s a ‘frumpy to fabulous’ makeover scene between mother and daughter. However, I do want to mention it for a funny little moment that cut me to the quick. Who knew that all our moms have a thing for MAUVE-colored lipstick? I thought it was just mine. Hmmm, I wonder if everyone’s mom also had a thing for cowl neck sweaters? I’ll get back to you on that.
Melissa McCarthy is always funny, but her physical comedy really shines in a very uncomfortable ‘oral presentation’ scene. Her character has a fear of public speaking, and the entire speech is full of stammering and sweat (SO MUCH SWEAT!), it makes the audience cringe. You just can’t look away. Masterful.
While Life of the Party certainly cracked me up a few times, it’s not exactly a film you run out to theaters to watch. Do yourself a favor and wait until that Sunday afternoon moment of “hey, wanna watch something light and funny?” on-demand.