Positively uplifting! Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone’s comedy Life of the Party releasing everywhere today is a quintessential Mothers Day flick that you can take your mom to and enjoy together this Sunday afternoon. McCarthy shines as the brilliant comic she is in this film. Whereas she is typically the brunt of the jokes in the film’s she and her husband often cowrite together, this film provides McCarthy with a platform to truly showcase her talents as a comedic actor who can not only play the butt of the humor but also the vixen who’s captured the eye of a hot frat guy as she sets out to complete her education. McCarthy’s brand of comedy–that authenticity, candidness, optimism–that we have come to know and love, will have laughing and empathizing throughout the movie.
Although themes such as inspiration, determination, and resilience are not uncommon for a comedy, I appreciate many tropes often associated with fish-out-of-water plots were abandoned for something more unconventional yet infectiously charming. Instead of ultimately changing herself for the world around her or changing the world to fit her, she finds her place in the world and creatively directs it to make room for her. Whatever your age, you will likely find yourself connecting with one or more of the characters in this film as it proves that you are never too old to learn something new or complete that which you chose not to earlier in life. From acoustic guitar tunes to Cyndi Lauper and even a surprise performance by Christina Aguilera, the music will have you dancing in your seat. Watch as nervous, scared girls who are afraid of unknown elements in school, grow to become incredible women who form meaningful relationships and heal from tragedy. Each of the principle cast is unique in some way, and it’s these traits that setup conflict and allow the comedy to flow from the conflict naturally. From McCarthy’s Deanna’s endearing vampire-like roommate who low key longs for a friendship to the girl who is also a non-traditional student because of being in a coma for eight years, the film is filled with a colorful cast of likable characters and of course Deanna’s ex and mistress who we love to hate.
McCarthy is joined by comedienne Maya Rudolph and the pair of them dominate any scene they are in together. It never feels overwhelming because they are both saying precisely what you and I are thinking. The two of them exhibit kind of friendship that perhaps your closest friend and you desire to have. Although there is a mild degree of suspense, the film derives most of its energy from the brilliant cast’s reactions to the varying conflicts throughout the film. As there is not much to analyze in this film, you’ll find this review far shorter than my usual ones. But, I desired to write up a piece on it because it’s been largely panned by most critics. Variety and I seem to be among the few who find so much that’s “right” with this film as opposed to what’s “wrong.” Maybe it’s not terribly deep, but it boasts a simple plot with complex characters that provides McCarthy with an opportunity to show a different side to her trademark comedy. With honors!