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Blu-ray Review: Life of the Party

August 7, 2018

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Melissa McCarthy can be a very funny person. But that also doesn’t mean every film she’s in is going to be a comedic hit, as she has also made her share of misfires.

McCarthy’s latest film, Life of the Party, which she co-wrote with her husband Ben Falcone who also serves as director, is neither a hit nor a complete misfire. It instead falls right in the middle. As a film, it’s thoroughly average and mediocre, but at the same time, it’s also completely innocuous and offers some passably amusing moments here and there.

This time around, McCarthy stars as Deanna, a middle aged woman who, right after dropping her only daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) off at college, is informed by her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) that he is having an affair with a real estate agent (Julie Bowen) and wants a divorce.

Facing a mid-life crisis, and still burdened with regret from dropping out of college in her young adult years when she got married and became pregnant, Deanna decides to go back to college alongside her daughter, in order to finally complete her archeology degree. While Maddie is initially embarrassed by having her mother accompany her to college, Deanna becomes somewhat of a star around campus.

Deanna bonds with her daughter’s trio of friends (Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, and Jessie Eniss) who give her the nickname “Dee-Rock”, finds herself partying hard with the kids, and even starts hooking up with a hot young college student (Luke Benward). But this wouldn’t be a comedy if Deanna didn’t run into her fair share of wacky pitfalls at college, and she finds herself in any number of embarrassing and awkward situations along the way.

The tagline for Life of the Party could easily be “Melissa McCarthy goes to college”, and that description basically tells you exactly what you are going to get, but the overall results are somewhat mixed. There is a sitcomish quality to much of the film, and it also has a tendency to play more like a series of sketches at times, with the story and characters often feeling very thinly developed.

The film itself is not exactly laugh out loud funny, but it does have a few amusing moments here and there that do elicit some chuckles. So while this is hardly a great movie, or even a great comedy for that matter, it’s also not exactly terrible either. It’s the sort of thing that passes the time well enough while watching it, but you don’t really need to go out of your way to seek it out.

The Blu-ray also includes a bunch of deleted scenes, a gag reel, the two featurettes 80’s Party and Mom Sandwich, as well as two Line-o-Ramas.

Life of the Party is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release. It’s 105 minutes and rated PG.

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