Wednesday 31 October 2018

Life of The Party ★★☆☆☆

Life of the Party is a cliché ‘college comedy’ which I thought I was going to hate but, surprisingly, didn’t. Our story begins with forty-something, sweater-wearing mum Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) having a divorce sprung upon her. After a brief grieving period, which includes her dad threatening to shoot her soon-to-be-ex-husband (one of my favourite scenes), she sets out to complete what she tried to do decades prior – graduate. If this doesn’t already scream ‘midlife crisis’ at you, wait until I tell you that Deanna chooses the exact same college as her daughter Maddie.

Her first college class presents to us all the clichés we need to know this is going to be a stereotypical ‘college comedy.’ If the cheesy archaeology teacher with his dad jokes wasn’t enough, we are quickly introduced to our resident mean girl who, for me, just wasn’t that mean. Her insults made me cringe more than laugh and overall her character felt redundant. Of course, though, these insults are enough to encourage Maddie to turn her mum from cute as a button to the new and improved ‘Dee Rock’.  

The transformation into ‘Dee Rock’ is essentially the pivotal point of the film. Maddie’s friends stop feeling sorry for Deana and instead she becomes ‘one of the girls’ - this is where the predictability really starts to shine through. Like most ‘college comedies’ I’ve seen, the bulk of Life of The Party contains sorority initiations, mid-term breakdowns, boy troubles and well, partying. One of the girls that did add a refreshing touch to this otherwise familiar group was Helen (Gillian Jacobs) who is also known as ‘coma girl’. As the name would suggest, Helen spent eight years in a coma – an unusual backstory that definitely makes her character stand out. Helen takes Deanna under her wing and helps her to rebound in some hilarious ways (that don’t always sit too well with her daughter!)

However, Deanna’s college adventure hits a bump in the road when her divorce settlement doesn’t leave her too financially well off. But, with the help of a surprise celebrity appearance (I won’t say who), everything gets back on track. Whilst a happy ending can be nice, this one annoyed me, a lot. The rest of the film had managed to keep a (semi) realistic feel to it, but this just made it feel farfetched and actually rather sickly.  

If it wasn’t for the occasional hilarious one-liners and some cracking twists, this film would definitely blend into the background of its genre. Whilst McCarthy adds a certain charm to the film, I can’t say she’s much different in this to any other character that she’s played. Overall, although I didn’t exactly hate this film, I didn’t love it either. It was very predictable and kinda cheesy, but it did make for an easy watch. 

Georgia Hughes

Life of The Party at CeX

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