Friday, May 11, 2018

Life of the Party [2018]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (G. Whipp) review (M. Zoller-Seitz) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review 

I'd like to begin my review of  Life of the Party [2018] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Ben Falcone along with Melissa McCarthy) by declaring that I simply love Melissa McCarthy.  Her career could have gone in any number of directions, but at least as of now, she's chosen to defend the value / dignity of regular people ... like you and me.

In this film, she plays Deanna a happy sacrificing 40-something woman, wife / mother who gets dumped by her cheap-skate husband Dan (played by Matt Walsh) even as they drop-off their only daughter Maddie (played by Molly Gordon) at college for her senior year.  He honestly believes that he's "trading up," by dumping Deanna for same age as they, living in the same suburb as they, real estate agent named Maddie (played by Julie Bowen).  Why?  Yes, it kinda matters but it also doesn't.  He's simply decided to go, and ... Deanna's left on her own.

It turns out that Deanna never completed college, having left it, her senior year, to have Maddie with Dan and to marry him.  She decides to go back, twenty three years on, to finish her (archaeology!) degree.  A kinder, gentler version of Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School [1986] follows with shades of Kevin Spacey's American Beauty [1999] and even Harrison Ford's Raiders of the Lost Ark [1981].  Honestly, imagine Indiana Jones as a forty-five year old mother who yes, dreams (among other things) of going to Budapest to look for the long lost tomb of Attila the Hun (why not? ;-) but ALSO loves her early 20-something daughter and all her friends to pieces.  I JUST LOVE THIS FILM! ;-).

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