Life of the Party Blu-ray Review
By my count, movies where Ben Falcone directs his lovely wife, Melissa McCarthy, are so far batting a .000. I’m not going to use this review as a podium to rag on or insult McCarthy, who I personally believe is an immense talent. I will try my best to voice my displeasure without being condescending or mean because I do believe that just like comedians before her, McCarthy will someday floor audiences with a dramatic performance. With the buttering up done, I can go ahead and start explaining why LIFE OF THE PARTY is lifeless.
Middle-aged mom, Deanna (McCarthy), is actually an incredibly sympathetic character. She’s a loving mom who after dropping off her child, Maddie (Gordon), at college, has a bombshell dropped on her. Not only has her husband Dan (Walsh) fallen in love with another woman, but he wants a divorce. He says he’s doing her a favor by simply pulling off a bandage quickly as he continues to deliver bad news in cascading fashion. After years of being a housewife, Deanna decides that the only logical step forward after this traumatic set of events is to go back to college, since she was forced to drop out when she became pregnant with Maddie.
I think my biggest problem with LIFE OF THE PARTY is the same reason I was disappointed and bored when Adam Sandler decided to remake MR. DEEDS, everything feels stale and unfunny. In both movies, the comedian we’ve come to know seems more subdued and the supporting cast can’t make up for the lack of the usual bravado supplied by the lead. The jokes feel way tamer than McCarthy’s usual fanfare. Keeping McCarthy’s foul mouth in check has only worked once, and it was in the highly controversial GHOSTBUSTERS remake.
The film does pack an impressive cast, including Jacki Weaver, Stephen Root, Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs and others. It could be viewed as harmless, good-natured fun, but it forgot the fun part. I have to reiterate, that this is still a somewhat sweet movie with likable characters, and it’s perfectly reasonable to enjoy this film. I think the relationship between Deanna and Maddie actually works when it’s just the two of them chewing on the comedic scenery. I believe that McCarthy and Falcone are able to come up with interesting characters, but can’t quite give them any interesting lines to read or inspired situations to emote in.
It’s safe to say that sometimes the greats (I do consider McCarthy a golden standard in 21st century comedy) can produce a dud. But it generally seems to happen when her husband is behind the lense. Far be it from me, a lowly film critic in the Midwest, to tell a multi-millionaire and highly talented individual on how to craft their comedy. But I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that these movies are beneath McCarthy’s talents. I sincerely hope that all these flops eventually lead to that “Ah-ha” moment for Falcone and McCarthy. Until then, you can skip LIFE OF THE PARTY.
Video: (1080p HD Widescreen 2:39:1) The video quality is fine, but nothing about this movie really pops visually.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Audio is well-balanced and mixed.
80s Party (4:51): A feature about a 80s theme dance party in the film. Nothing interesting here.
Mom Sandwich (2:45): Deanna’s parents in this movie are based off McCarthy’s real-life parents. This feature is an anecdote about McCarthy’s mom’s obsession with making sandwiches for guests.
Deleted Scenes (46:36): This is an insane amount of deleted/extended scenes. It’s because they lumped in some ad-libbed moments and a few bloopers, which is odd because they don’t lump those into the features after this one. Overall, there’s 17 scenes and for people who enjoyed the movie, they may actually enjoy the improvish nature of this feature.
Line-O-Rama: Line-O-Rama (3:02): This has actors rattling off their best one-liners.
Line-O-Rama: Bill Hate-O-Rama (2:44): I’m wondering why this wasn’t lumped into the previous feature, but I assume it was to inflate how many special features are on this Blu-ray.
Gag Reel (5:25): A self-explanatory feature.