Director: Ben Falcone
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Matt Walsh, Molly Gordon, Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs
After her husband suddenly asks for a divorce, Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) decides to join her teenage daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) at college so she can finally complete her degree.
‘Life of the Party’ was a very pleasant surprise. It is funny, both smile inducing gags and proper laugh out loud moments, but it’s also really very sweet and heartfelt.
Typically, you’d think that the main conflict Deanna would have to face is the fact she’s at her daughter’s college, and her daughter would be embarrassed by her and not want to be around her. That’s not the case at all. Yes, Maddie is a bit shocked when her mother enrolls in her college and there’s some embarrassing stories about her courtesy of her mum, but she really gets behind her mum wanting to better herself almost straightaway. In fact, Deanna’s core group of friends at college is her daughter and her daughter’s friends and sorority sisters.
Deanna’s best friend Christine (Maya Rudolph) is so supportive, and hilarious, and I think that’s what makes ‘Life of the Party’ so great. It has all these women of different ages, being comfortable around one another and supporting each other. The relationship between Deanna and Maddie is one of the best and most loving mother-daughter relationships I’ve seen on screen for a while.
While the characters are all brilliant, the actual plot doesn’t really present much conflict for Deanna. So, while you like her, and want her to prove her ex-husband wrong and get her degree, there’s nothing really standing in the way of that. There is the typical mean girl played by Debbie Ryan, but as Deanna is so much older than her, nothing she says gets her down. Besides from that there’s nothing for Deanna to overcome until late in the third act and everything is sorted out pretty quickly and neatly anyway.
‘Life of the Party’ is a funny, sweet and kind of charming film. By and large it is predictable, but the cast makes the ride a fun time.