Life of the Party?

This article was originally published on May 12, 2018 on Cinephile's former website.


This movie was so boring that it put me in a coma and I missed the deadline to writing its review.  Life of the Party is one of the most misleading film titles of the 21st Century, with the first party happening 50 minutes into the film, which is another painful experience to watch.  Every party that happens comes in 20 minute increments, so if you do the math into an hour and forty-five minutes, the answer you’ll get is there’s not a lot of partying going on in this film.

Melissa McCarthy's Deanna feels like an older Sookie St. James; I actually found myself wondering if Lorelei and Rory would show up?  A quick premise.  Deanna finds herself going back to school to finish her last year of college after choosing to be a wife and mom for the past 23 years.  In the first few minutes of the film we see a loving mom and dad drop their daughter off for her senior year of college and as the parents, Dan, Matt Walsh, and Deanna, leave the campus behind them, then Dan drops a bombshell asking for a divorce.

Talk about a shocker! Everyone in the theater gasped.  The tone changed from clichéd Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963) to Waiting to Exhale (1995).  Y'all remember when Michael Beach's character told Angela Basset's character that he was leaving her for a white woman?  I even feel like Deanna tried to have a Bernadette moment in this film, however, that's as far it goes.  After Dan asks for the divorce, we are back with June Cleaver-Deanna and only slight chuckles happening time to time from the audience.

There's was so much missed opportunity and the film feels choppy, like there was more to the story - I had a lot of "Did I miss something?"  Scratch my head moments in my viewing - and those pieces were left on the editing floor.  Would those missing pieces have made for a better story? I don't have an answer, I guess its according to what's on the floor. The pacing is slow and every scene I wondered about its pertinence to Deanna's journey.  

As a filmmaker I question why the direction did not capitalize on the premise?  Not expand the storylines, like Deanna having a relationship with a younger college guy?  How hard it is to be back in school after 23 years?  Being more serious about the divorce?  Why so many characters?  For instance there's a mean girl clique and they have no reason to be in the movie.  And even with the girls jarring appearance in the film, they don't do anything interesting.  Glazing over the surface telling this story may be an overstatement.  

Time is a precious thing, don't waste it on this film.  Save the 10 bucks and never buy the DVD or even rent it, just wait until it comes on TNT, TBS or even Netflix if you want to witness this snooze fest.  Or just watch Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) instead.

1/5 Slates 

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