Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Interviews with Melissa McCarthy and the Life of the Party Cast

Interviews with Melissa McCarthy and the Life of the Party Cast

But before the vehicle is even off campus grounds, dad tells mom he wants a divorce, he's going to marry another woman, and that she's in real estate and will be selling their home. It is 105 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sexual material, drug content and partying. Too often, though, it's is plagued by weak writing from McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone, who also directs. Co-starring are a slew of very amusing women, including Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs and Julie Bowen.

Star Melissa McCarthy, no matter how much she throws herself into it with her usual crackling, live-wire energy, can't come close to saving it. McCarthy stars as Deanna, a longtime dedicated housewife who, along with her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) is introduced dropping her daughter Maddie (Mollie Gordon) off at Decatur University for her senior year. It's a ideal premise for McCarthy, a near-copy of Rodney Dangerfield's 1986 classic "Back to School", only with a heart-of-gold female at its center rather than a male boor. If that's your bag (and her metaphorical duffel feels a lot roomier at this point than, say, Adam Sandler's) Life of the Party is a charming and generally painless way to spend two hours. Jackie Weaver and Stephen Root as Deanna's parents seem embarrassed to be involved in this mess. Her track record isn't ideal, which gives us a little cause for concern.

Her speeches about sisterhood and self-esteem, though, are at odds with the movie's habit of humiliating female characters - a couple of campus mean girls, and particularly the frosty blonde siren (Julie Bowen) who intends to marry Deanna's ex. On the social media front, Union leads with 1.1+ million Facebook followers and over 4 million Twitter followers, and she's been doing her part to plug the movie.

While her roommate, Leonor (Heidi Gardner of "Saturday Night Live"), is an odd, live-life-in-the-dark type, Deanna immediately hits it off with her daughter's sorority sisters Amanda (Adria Arjona, "Pacific Rim: Uprising"), Debbie (Jessie Ennis, "Better Call Saul") and Helen (Gillian Jacobs, "Community", "Love").

"This is the thing about dancing and why I love the show World of Dance (her TV competition series): people love to dance and people love to watch it", the sexy Latina said.

Deanna also finds a rival in the pretty-and-bratty Jennifer (Debby Ryan, "Rip Tide"), another weak plot element, this one to generate occasional conflict - and a dance-off at a 1980s-themed party.

AR National Guard sending troops, aircraft to border
About 2,000 troops have been already approved, and the new request would increase that figure to roughly 2,700, reports said. The last time the Arkansas National Guard deployed troops to the southwest border was between June 2006 and July 2008.

The film's best subplot involves Deanna repeatedly sleeping with a handsome student, Jack (a very sweet Luke Benward), only to insist that it can never, ever happen again. (Packer and Union also worked together on Almost Christmas). Deanna's daughter is initially horrified to have her mother around, but changes her tune quickly.

The week's new releases in theaters are Life of the Party and Breaking In.

What it does have is its star and her sheer, loony life force - a well she'll keep drawing from (there are at least three more projects on her production slate now) until she, or the audience, moonwalks away. A tighter edit might have really helped this campus shindig. They had the same problems they had working on "Tammy" and "The Boss".

But, objectively, were this a term paper, it's a C effort.

Stars (of four): 2.

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