I hope I won’t keep repeating myself in the future, but “Life of the Party” is the third movie in which Melissa McCarthy stars and writes the script with her husband-the director Ben Falcone. Their two previous films were “Tammy” and “The Boss,” both of which I thought were some of the worst comedies I have ever seen.
Unlike those two, “Life of the Party” is rated PG-13, instead of R. But like those two, this one either made me laugh once or never. In this case, it’s only once, and that’s when we see a sorority poster of the main character looking scared. That actually made me smile. But the rest of audience was so loud and noisy, it was hard for me to hear some of the jokes, and almost none of them were funny to me.
McCarthy writes herself as Deanna, who drops her daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon) off at her senior year of college, and her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) immediately dumps her for a spoiled realtor (Julie Bowen).
Deanna also regrets not finishing her degree, because of how she got pregnant with Maddie, and only Dan could finish the semester. So, she decides to enroll in Maddie’s college, and it’s the law of the movies and shows that the child has to be embarrassed and has to change the parent’s appearance.
This unfunny comedy is filled with many unlikable and noisy characters, on or off campus. For example, Gillian Jacobs plays a student who was in a coma for 8 years, and constantly looks like she just woke up. Next, we have Maya Rudolph as Deanna’s friend, who makes obnoxious dialogue at her divorce meeting and at a restaurant where Dan and his mistress dine. Debby Ryan plays a rival, who calls Deanna a grandmother. And we meet Stephen Root and Jacki Weaver as Deanna’s parents. One wants to shoot Dan, the other wants to make sandwiches.
McCarthy can make hilarious movies like “Bridesmaids,” “This is 40,” “The Heat,” and “Spy.” Those movies are made by talents who guide her with the kind of flexibility and pure goofiness that makes her fun. But as a writer, it doesn’t seem like she is trying to be funny. Most of the scenes involve tired slapstick, annoying characters, and mean humor. If it was R-rated, it probably would have been nastier.
This comedy dead zone gets a D-.