Life of the Party

Melissa McCarthy stars in the charming college comedy 'Life of the Party'


Life of the Party 

Melissa McCarthy reteams with husband Ben Falcone for their third collaboration after Tammy and The Boss. This charming college comedy, co-written by the couple and directed by Falcone, is easily the best of the three. And while dynamo McCarthy built her reputation playing dimwitted forces of nature like her Oscar-nominated character in Bridesmaids, she’s working in a far more thoughtful mode in this film. Think of her Deanna as a cousin of Susan, McCarthy’s character in Paul Feig’s 2015 action comedy Spy. Both transform from put-upon women into newfound versions of their best selves, freed from longtime perceptions that have kept them boxed in. In both cases, the women are able to tap into their hibernating sexuality with liberating results. Immediately after Deanna and her husband Dan (Matt Walsh) drop off their daughter Maddie (Molly Gordon of TNT’s Animal Kingdom) for her final year of college at her parents’ alma mater, Dan abruptly dumps his wife, confessing to infidelity and requesting a divorce. Reassessing her life choices, Deanna decides to complete the final year of the archaeology degree she put on hold when she became pregnant during her senior year of college. Soon—and to the initial dismay of Maddie—Deanna settles back into college life with surprising ease, making fast friends with her daughter’s sorority sisters while sowing her oats with frat boy Jack (Luke Benward), with who she shares an amusing connection. Surprisingly sweet-natured, this is an enjoyable return to school. (At Assembly RowBoston CommonFenwaySeaportSouth Bay and in the suburbs.)

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