By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Most of the jokes and gags in Melissa McCarthy’s
latest movie “Life of the Party”
hit more than miss, but this uneven back-to-school comedy, directed by McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone, overstays its welcome by a good 20 minutes or so.
“Life of the Party” is actually the third collaboration executive produced and co-written by McCarthy and Falcone (“The Boss” and “Tammy”).
In the movie, McCarthy plays Deanna Miles, a super nice and spunky mother who is so proud that her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon, TV’s “Our Cartoon President”) is about to finish her final year at Decatur University.
Deanna and her husband Dan (Matt Walsh, TV’s “Alex, Inc.” and “Veep”) are filled with emotion as they drop Maddie at the university and are set to fly off to Italy for a well-deserved vacation.
But then Dan throws a ringer in their plans when he suddenly tells Deanna he wants a divorce.
Yep, just like that. Dan admits to having an affair with their real estate agent Marcie (Julie Bowen, TV’s “Modern Family”) who is a much younger thing than Deanna. Get this; Marcie is also overseeing the sale of Dan and Deanna’s house which Deanna had no clue about. And Dan being the cold SOB that he is also informs Deanna that he has no intentions of giving her any money from the sale.
Of course, a good lawyer would beg to differ, but still.
Talk about cold-blooded.
Well, Deanna is filled with self-pity, but it doesn’t last for long. She has a plan. She’s going back to school and get that archeology degree that she put on hold for Dan’s career and when she got pregnant with Maddie.
That sounds fine, until we learn that Deanna plans to enroll at Decatur where Maddie is attending.
Shocked beyond belief, Maddie can’t imagine having her mom hanging around her and all her sorority friends.
But, Deanna is serious and takes the plunge. Surprisingly, Maddie’s friends think Deanna is super cool, hence her nick-name “Dee-Rock.” They all instantly take to her especially Helen, aka, the coma girl (Gillian Jacobs, TV’s “Love”).
Deanna finds true lust in the arms of a hunky student named Jack (Luke Benward, (“Fog City”). Sure, he’s half her age, but Deanna apparently has skills that Dan didn’t appreciate, but Jack sure does.
Their red-hot romance is among the funnier bits in the movie and takes an even wilder turn when Deanna discovers who Jack’s mother is.
Less funny, however, is a tired and clichéd wedding crashers scene, an oral class reading from Deanna, and a mean girls bit from Debby Ryan (TV’s “Insatiable”) and Yani Simone (TV’s “Young & Married”).
An underused Maya Rudolph turns up as Deanna’s best friend Christine who has some interesting marital issues of her own, but loves Deanna’s new life and lives vicariously through it.
Even Christina Aguilera makes an appearance at a fund-raising frat party.
There are many moving parts in “Life of The Party” and some move along better than others. It’s no “Tammy,” but it’s no “Bridesmaids” either. Still, “Life of the Party” is a tame, PG-13 comedy which should play well over Mother’s Day weekend.
will be enjoying some major birthday celebrating and fun in the sun and won't be on KFBK (93.1 FM and 1530 AM) May 11 for my movie review segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show, but will return May 18.
In The Meantime Watch This Trailer For "LIFE OF THE PARTY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.