Life of the Party review - made worth watching by its hilarious and overqualified cast
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Comedy royalty Melissa McCarthy co-writes and stars as Deanna in Life of the Party, a college fluffball comedy about a mother who, after her husband leaves her, decides to finish her college degree at her alma matter, at which her daughter is now a senior. The film is an odd mix of ‘been there, done that’ and refreshing perspectives, and though the film is by no means in the same league as Bridesmaids, The Heat or Spy (all three directed by Paul Feig), no film which stars Melissa McCarthy can be a complete miss. Where the dialogue may be weak at times, and the narrative predictable, the hilarious and frankly overqualified cast make Life of the Party worth watching. Filled with Saturday Night Live alumni Maya Rudolph, Heidi Gardner, and Chris Parnell, along with comedy actors Gillian Jacobs and Matt Walsh, even the weakest scripts are heightened. Beyond being a veritable check list for a PG-rated slapstick college comedy, featuring over-the-top frat parties, snarky mean girls with no story, an out-of-the-blue dance off, a speedy but dramatic makeover, and accidental drug-taking, the film is also a welcome departure from many genre clichés. McCarthy’s daughter, played very naturally by newcomer Molly Gordon, quickly adjusts to her mum joining her college and mingling with her friends, while her sorority sisters immediately embrace Deanna into their circle, and student hunk Jack (Luke Benward) develops a ‘thing’ for Deanna upon the first night of meeting her.
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