Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Life of the Party

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After her husband abruptly asks for a divorce, a middle-aged mother returns to college in order to complete her degree.

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Cast

Melissa McCarthy – Deanna Miles

Molly Gordon – Maddie Miles

Gillian Jacobs – Helen

Maya Rudolph – Christine

Jessie Ennis – Debbie

Adria Arjona – Amanda

Matt Walsh – Daniel

Luke Benward – Jack

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The poster advertisement says it all:

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I mean, look at that. Look at the way McCarthy is posing in character; happy-go-lucky and full of life. She owns that character, the portrayal of a downtrodden woman who has turned her life around completely.

..now look in the background. Look at those fake people, slightly blurred visually and acting like party girls. You can clearly see these appear like total randoms, extras, wheeled into a studio somewhere to have their photos snapped whilst acting out a party atmosphere. McCarthy’s photo was then chopped and slapped on top to give the impression she is part of the crowd – when she obviously isn’t. You get where I’m coming from. The publicity for Life of the Party is more or less an ominous nod at how shoddy a production it is. A message warning potential viewers away. So low-grade that even the poster wasn’t able to be produced using a genuine, believable scenario.

But a movie not even worthy of decent advertisement? A cast line-up of many unfamiliar names? Surely there had to be something about this movie that would turn my assumptions around..

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If I have watched one too many terrible films this year, Life of the Party is most certainly included. This shabby attempt at a comedy has to be one of the loosely-written, stale productions I have ever seen. McCarthy – as possibly one of the funniest of Hollywood’s women – takes a tremendous nosedive by being cast in this. The woman has a knack of sitting on the funny fence; a film she stars in is either awful and badly made. Or it’s just superb, hilarious, laugh-a-minute. I have mentioned this in previous reviews so I won’t go much into it. But this time around sadly, this wasn’t her time.

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Life of the Party starts with our leading lady doing what (oddly) she always does: wearing a wig. Yes indeed, as though her agent sends her to rehearsals with a box of old props they kept stored from their own acting days at drama school, McCarthy opens the movie with a new barnet and an old-fashioned outfit cat lovers everywhere would cherish. I haven’t just mentioned wigs at random, this is one of her trademark characteristics.

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Life of the Party, 2018

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Spy, 2015

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Identity Thief, 2013

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The Boss, 2016

The movie progresses with Deanna returning to school and gradually rediscovering her better side, getting her confidence back. It’s a nice little story and a journey that our protagonist takes us on, rising in popularity and bringing a touch of wisdom to her classmates lives. However, these positive elements do not necessarily make Life of the Party a good film. They ensure one or two endearing scenes between Deanna and certain characters she gets involved with both romantically and socially, but otherwise the whole thing runs from opening to closing like an extremely flat concept no one put much effort in to.

The supporting cast spend a lot of the time sitting or standing around making nice wallpaper whilst McCarthy fronts the entire thing. This is far from the likes of Ghostbusters (2016), where she was surrounded by Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Chris Hemsworth. This is her trying to prop up a handful of young women who aren’t as well-known, which contributes to its dull atmosphere. Some films strike gold with such a layout; a very famous face amongst not very famous faces. It can be brilliant with this refreshing casting style. This isn’t the case with Life of the Party, something is missing sorely in both comedy and casting departments which turns it into something flat comparable to a random on Netflix Originals.

If you have any taste in comedy whatsoever you would avoid this movie.

 

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2018 by .
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