To call “Life of the Party” a waste of every resource that went into making it would be something of an understatement. It’s a waste of the efforts involving anybody working on its production, whose flat and lifeless aesthetic makes network television sitcoms look like technical masterpieces comparatively. It’s a waste of energy for the actors, who aren’t walking away with any impressive additions to their resume given the poor delivery of every badly written line needing to desperately not upstage its underwhelming star.
The writers, what little effort was put into this thing’s hollow shell of a script, disastrously waste their time and energy along with the director by making an inferior version of a decades old thoroughly explored concept. Above all else however, it’s a spectacular waste of Melissa McCarthy’s talent, loosening reigns that she is clearly in desperate need of to uncover her best material in favor of flailing and babbling loudly until a punchline-lacking joke with some potential surfaces to put a scene out of its misery.
Divorced suddenly by her husband for another woman, McCarthy plays a mother that decides to follow her previously abandoned dream of achieving a degree in archaeology at the same college that her mother attends.
Mother and daughter shenanigans aside, anybody that’s been to college at some point in the last 20 years or so would know that college populations are usually as diverse as they come. White or Black, Domestic or Foreign, and even young and old of all genders, shapes and sizes all mill about and are fairly common. The idea of using somebody’s age and status as one long out of place punchline is a majorly inauthentic idiosyncrasy indicative of exactly why “Life of the Party” sucks.
Only the absolute barest minimum of effort was put into every key aspect of filmmaking in the name of allowing McCarthy to do what they all apparently believe that she is best at. Unfortunately, even though those elements would be distractingly poor if her comedic chops were up to snuff, her bumbling clown act gets really old really fast and goes the extra mile to not only be bad improvisation that doesn’t match the circumstances of its set up, but flat out ruins actual setups and punchlines that could have been hilarious had they been half the length and timed their landing.
“Life of the Party” is one of those surreally bad non-movies that slip their way into theaters based on the nepotism of its involved stars, coaxing a chuckle or two out that you immediately regret giving within 20 seconds when you realize that you’re watching a comedy that doesn’t know how to let a joke die.
McCarthy may still have a lot of talent left in her but she is slowly achieving Adam Sandler/Happy Madison levels of vanity with this project, a movie running at roughly an hour and a half in length, yet still feels more than a half hour too long.
1 out of 5
Graduating from Texas A&M University—Commerce with a bachelor's degree in News and Editorial Journalism, Jordan Wright has lived most of his adult life professionally critiquing films, from major blockbusters to indie dramas, and has no intentions of stopping.