Life of the Party is a comedy directed by Ben Falcone and written by Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. It is the third film directed by Falcone and co-written by the pair, following Tammy (2014) and The Boss (2016). While I love Melissa McCarthy, I don’t think her last couple of movies were that great — hence, I was reluctant to see this one. However, not one to abandon a great talent like Melissa, I ventured out and invested my time and money to see Life of the Party. At the end of this review, I will tell you if I made a wise decision or not.
Life of the Party opens with Deanna Miles (Melissa McCarthy) going with her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) to drop off their daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon), to her senior year at Decatur University in Atlanta, GA. Before they get started for home, Dan tells Deanna he wants a divorce and has fallen in love with someone else. To make things worse, he is selling their house since everything is under his name, causing Deanna to have to move out. Deanna goes to her parents home, Mike (Stephen Root) and Sandy (Jacki Weaver). Their opinion; Dan was always a jerk for making Deanna drop out of her last year of college when she got pregnant, as well as making her put up with his overbearing ways, during their marriage.
While playing Racquetball with her best friend Christine (Maya Rudolph), Deanna reflects on her life, then decides that she won’t just sit around and let her X ruin it. Deanna announces to Maddie while on a surprise visit to her dorm, that she and Dan are divorcing. Additionally, Deanna has decided to attend Decatur for a year in order to graduate, earning a degree in archaeology. Maddie introduces Deanna to her friends – Amanda (Adria Arjona), neurotic Debbie (Jessie Ennis), and Helen (Gillian Jacobs), who was in a coma for eight years and is now getting a chance to go to college as well. Deanna later meets her roommate Leonor (Heidi Gardner), who is agoraphobic and chronically depressed. One of Deanna’s classes is in archaeology and her professor is a former classmate from back in the day. As in most schools, there are bullies, in this case a “mean girl” Jennifer (Debby Ryan) and her friend Trina (Yani Simone) fits the bill. Deanna later goes to sign divorce papers, taking Christine with her when Dan shows up with his new fiancée, Marcie (Julie Bowen). They exchange a lot of insults through the mediator.
Maddie takes Deanna to hang out with her and her friends. After being mocked by Jennifer again, Maddie gives her mom a makeover so that she can look more party-ready. Deanna meets Maddie’s boyfriend, Tyler (Jimmy O. Yang) and another boy named Jack (Luke Benward). After many shots and beers, Deanna and Maddie wake up the next morning mortified to see each other leaving a frat house doing the “walk of shame”, which leads Maddie to realize Deanna slept with Jack who starts to constantly text Deanna since he has basically fallen in love with her.
From this point, Life of the Party takes on an adventurous turn with both Deana and Maddie discovering who they are in this space and time. Interaction with the “mean girl” & company, new boyfriends and Dan’s wedding prove to be pretty funny. Out of the last 2 movies, Melissa McCarthy has starred in, Life of the Party is a vast improvement. The jokes were very funny but the story didn’t make a lot of sense. I’m not sure how you can be married to someone long enough to have a senior college aged child and not be entitled to half of all assets. While I’m not a lawyer, I do know they were not rich and did not have a prenuptial, so I’m not sure how Dan got away with owning the house all to himself. As far as boyfriends go, Deanna and Jack made absolutely no sense. The movie, however was still funny and relaxing, which is a blessing now-a-days! I would however, wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray. Life of the Party was not a total waste of time, as I was entertained.