Life of the Party film review: Not the best, not the worst

Melissa McCarthy comedies are hit and miss.

You’ve got the stand-outs – Spy, Bridesmaids, The Heat and Ghostbusters.

But then you’ve got the terrible misses – Tammy and The Boss.

Her latest, Life of the Party, directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone, is more hit than miss but doesn’t live up to the heights of Spy.

The film follows McCarthy’s character Deanna as her husband, played by Veep’s Matt Walsh, suddenly announces he’s leaving her for a real estate agent and selling the house.

Deanna decides, after years of putting her own ambitions and career goals on the backburner, to head back to college and finish her archaeology degree.

The only catch – her daughter Maddie is attending the same college at the same time.

The film starts off pretty bland, with nothing exceptionally funny and some fairly stock-standard characters and plot points.

The character played by Disney star Debby Ryan is especially thin and an unrealistic ‘mean girl’.

But the film does progress to show there’s more to each of the characters, and the mean girl aspect is used as an opportunity to promote sisterhood and feminist values.

Having a ball: Melissa McCarthy stars as Deanna alongside Molly Gordon as her daughter Maddie in new comedy Life of the Party, which is rated M and in cinemas now.

Having a ball: Melissa McCarthy stars as Deanna alongside Molly Gordon as her daughter Maddie in new comedy Life of the Party, which is rated M and in cinemas now.

There’s the expected generational cringe when Deanna hangs out with her daughter’s friends and goes to parties, but it is actually kind of lovely how it doesn’t all fall apart immediately.

There are three scenes in particular in Life of the Party which are so gut-bustingly funny they will have you in stitches. This is in large part to McCarthy’s Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph.

Rudolph plays Deanna’s best friend, who is living vicariously through her.

The other most hilarious scene involves a spot of public speaking that is just beyond embarrassing.

Gillian Jacobs (Community) is also a hoot as one of Maddie’s odd-bod sorority sisters who woke from a coma after eight years.

While Life of the Party is not McCarthy’s best work it’s certainly not her worst.

There’s no doubt you’ll leave the cinema having laughed out loud and had a pretty good time overall.

Give Life of the Party a chance if you want a light chuckle.

Rating: 6/10.

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