Jennifer admitted she laughed along nervously at McCarthy's unexpected actions during the party: "I was like, 'Hehe, haha, isn't Melissa funny?,'" she shared, smiling as she added, "It was awesome".
Ms. McCarthy plays Deanna, who finds herself, somewhere in her 40s, suddenly divorced and enrolled at Decatur, where her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon), happens to be a senior. Deanna doesn't know that her husband, Dan (Veep's Matt Walsh), a dour tightwad with a droopy dad mustache, is about to make his own life change; he's fallen in love with a local real estate agent (Julie Bowen) and chose to "upgrade", effective immediately. It's a painful new chapter for Deanna, but she turns lemons into lemonade by - as one might reasonably infer from the title - discovering her inner twentysomething, taking full advantage of college life so enthusiastically that her fellow co-eds nickname her Dee Rock.
There is no faulting her energy and commitment, though, as she goes full-throttle with physical comedy - but her usual tricks can't elevate the exhausted material.
Maddie's initial terror is calmed when Deanna becomes the BMOC (Big Mom On Campus).
Life of the Party is essentially a series of comedy skits based around a common theme (40-something mom goes back to college) and strung together with enough plot to sustain a feature film. It doesn't help that the character bares similarities to the work McCarthy did in "Spy" only three years ago.
Directed by Ben Falcone. Life of the Party is more polished than the average SNL routine, yet its sense of blocking and pacing within scenes aren't that different from a live TV comedy show.
McCarthy gets assistance from a large army of supporting players - comedy pros like Maya Rudolph, who plays her best friend, her sorority sister Gillian Jacobs, and her father, Stephen Root.
'It's the same thing I tell my girls, "If somebody is being mean, they're probably really not happy,"' she explained. Years ago, she had dropped out with only a year left - and Dan was at least partly to blame.
However, "Life of the Party" has something akin to the freshman 15 - in that it's about 15 minutes longer than the 90 it should have been.
Speaking of parties, at an earlier bash at a fraternity house, Deanna is given a quick makeover by Maddie in the bathroom, indulges in some binge drinking and spends the night with a young man, Jack (Luke Bernard, "Still the King").
In the end, Life of the Party clears the not-so-high bar it sets for itself and delivers its fair share of forgettable, yet otherwise solid comedy.
McCarthy is always the life of the party, but this film is something of a drag. But her character (a math-challenged student recently out of an eight-year coma) supports them, sort of.
A couple of characters can't make up for how "Life of the Party" comes across so lifelessly. There's alcohol, partying, drugs, and sex, but none of it is tawdry or salacious.
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