Life of the Party

Life of the Party

2018, PG, 105 min. Directed by Ben Falcone. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Molly Gordon, Debby Ryan, Jacki Weaver, Matt Walsh, Stephen Root, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Jimmy O. Yang, Luke Benward.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., May 11, 2018

Humor is subjective. This point was rammed home to me as I sat in agonized silence, fingers sporadically jammed into my eyes, while audience members laughed at the latest shockingly boring Melissa McCarthy/Ben Falcone cringe machine.

At this point, the McCarthy/Falcone equation is clear. McCarthy plays it broad, there's some vague female empowerment subplot counterbalancing her butterfly-like transformation, and there will be some pratfalls. As in Tammy, yeah unto The Boss, and now to low-grade college comedy Life of the Party.

McCarthy's latest awful/adorable persona is Deanna, a clingy, gabby mom in the throes of a divorce, who decides to reclaim her lost youth by finishing her archaeology degree at the same college as her daughter Maddie (Gordon, aka Our Cartoon President's Sarah Huckabee Sanders). See, it's hilarious, because fish out of water, right!

Deanna is so irksome that even McCarthy seems to tire of her, and her bumbling, burbling, shy but gregarious persona is often discarded – not as a sign of character development, but because it would get in the way of a gag. The idea that this bedazzled stereotype would, after a couple of drinks and a late-night hookup with a senior (Benward), suddenly turn into Rodney Dangerfield on a late-night show in the Catskills isn't just absurd: It's lazy writing. It's a sign that McCarthy and Falcone don't care about their story or characters, which would be OK if this wasn't so brake-screechingly devoid of decent laughs. And, no, a wine-sozzled Maya Rudolph taking a racquetball to (as Deanna dubs it) the vaGoogle is not a decent laugh. It's a Farrelly brothers reject.

Talking of Dangerfield, he don't get no respect here. At least the recent gender-swapped rehash of Overboard announced it was a remake: Falcone and McCarthy just raid the bones of Back to School, with none of its sleazy, galling, badly aged charm. This is PG-13 pablum, desperate to scrape in Mother's Day dollars and college-kid cash at the same time. It's so woefully out of touch that the last act revolves around seniors in Atlanta in 2018 going to a party because Christina Aguilera might be there.

Life of the Party has two, maybe three moderately enjoyable components. First, Jacobs and Ennis, both playing a form of mild bafflement/low-grade concussion for something approaching, but not even grazing, laughs. Second, the architecture at Agnes Scott College, which previously served as a backdrop for Scream 2. If you're going to watch a film for good views of the campus, watch that. Hell, I'd rather be chased by Ghostface across the quad than endure McCarthy going through the motions one more time.

Showtimes

Mon., May 21

11:05am, 1:50, 5:05, 8:10, 11:05

Tue., May 22

5:05, 8:10, 11:05
AFA 11:05am, 1:50

Wed., May 23

11:05am, 1:50, 5:05, 8:10, 11:05

Mon., May 21

12:00, 2:45, 5:30, 8:15, 11:15

Tue., May 22

3:30, 6:15, 9:00
AFA 12:25

Wed., May 23

11:10am, 1:55, 4:45, 7:45, 10:30

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Mon., May 21

11:05am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:30, 10:35

Tue., May 22

4:40, 7:30, 10:35
AFA 11:05am, 1:50

Wed., May 23

11:45am, 2:30, 5:15, 8:15, 11:00

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Mon., May 21

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50

Tue., May 22

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50

Wed., May 23

CC/DVS 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:40am, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Mon., May 21

digital 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05

Tue., May 22

digital 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05

Wed., May 23

digital 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05
digital, luxury lounger 11:05am, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Mon., May 21

digital 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
digital, luxury lounger 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20

Tue., May 22

digital 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
digital, luxury lounger 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20

Wed., May 23

digital 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20
digital, luxury lounger 12:40, 3:30, 6:30, 9:20

Mon., May 21

digital 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15

Tue., May 22

digital 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15

Wed., May 23

digital 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 1:55, 4:40, 7:25, 10:15

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Mon., May 21

digital 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Tue., May 22

digital 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Wed., May 23

digital 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30
digital, luxury lounger 11:10am, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:30

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., May 21

digital 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Tue., May 22

digital 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Wed., May 23

digital 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35
digital, luxury lounger 12:25, 2:55, 5:25, 8:00, 10:35

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Mon., May 21

digital 12:50, 4:00, 6:35, 9:20

Tue., May 22

digital 12:50, 4:00, 6:35, 9:20

Wed., May 23

digital 12:50, 4:00, 6:35, 9:20

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Mon., May 21

1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:20

Tue., May 22

1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:20

Wed., May 23

1:50, 4:45, 7:40, 10:20

Thu., May 24

1:50, 4:55, 7:40, 10:20

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Mon., May 21

11:30am, 2:10, 4:40, 10:00

Tue., May 22

11:30am, 2:10, 10:00

Wed., May 23

11:30am, 2:10, 4:40, 10:00

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Mon., May 21

CC 12:15, 3:25, 6:30, 10:30

Tue., May 22

CC 12:15, 3:25, 6:30, 10:30

Wed., May 23

CC 12:15, 3:25, 6:30, 10:30

Thu., May 24

CC 10:45am, 12:15, 3:15

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Mon., May 21

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:35, 3:35, 6:45, 9:20

Tue., May 22

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:35, 3:35, 6:45, 9:20

Wed., May 23

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:35, 3:35, 6:45, 9:20

Thu., May 24

ClosedCapDescListenHI 12:35, 3:35, 6:45, 9:20

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., May 21

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:50, 10:35

Tue., May 22

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:50, 10:35

Wed., May 23

CC/DVS 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:50, 10:35

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Mon., May 21

11:35am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:10

Tue., May 22

11:35am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:10

Wed., May 23

11:35am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:10

Thu., May 24

11:35am, 2:20, 4:45, 7:10, 9:30

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Mon., May 21

11:30am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

Tue., May 22

11:30am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

Wed., May 23

11:30am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:15

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Mon., May 21

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:30
CC/DVS, recliners, reserved seating 11:30am, 2:15, 4:45, 7:30

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., May 21

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 8:00, 10:45

Tue., May 22

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 8:00, 10:45

Wed., May 23

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 8:00, 10:45

Thu., May 24

CC/DVS 11:50am, 2:30, 5:10, 8:00, 10:45

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/austin/

Mon., May 21

10:45am, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

Tue., May 22

10:45am, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

Wed., May 23

10:45am, 4:40, 7:30, 10:30

Thu., May 24

10:45am, 4:40

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Mon., May 21

10:45am, 1:45, 4:50, 7:30, 10:00

Tue., May 22

10:45am, 1:45, 4:50, 7:30, 10:00

Wed., May 23

10:45am, 1:45, 4:50, 7:30, 10:00

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Mon., May 21

2:10, 4:50, 7:20

Tue., May 22

2:10, 4:50, 7:20

Wed., May 23

2:10, 4:50, 7:20

Thu., May 24

2:10, 4:50, 7:20

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Mon., May 21

1:00, 3:40, 6:20, 9:00

Tue., May 22

1:00, 3:40, 6:20, 9:00

Wed., May 23

1:00, 3:40, 6:20, 9:00

Thu., May 24

1:00, 3:40, 6:20, 9:00

Mon., May 21

11:30am, 2:10, 4:40, 8:00, 10:35

Tue., May 22

11:30am, 2:10, 4:40, 8:00, 10:35

Wed., May 23

11:30am, 2:10, 4:40, 8:00, 10:35

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Mon., May 21

11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10

Tue., May 22

11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10

Wed., May 23

11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10

Thu., May 24

11:35am, 2:10, 4:45, 7:30, 10:10

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Mon., May 21

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Tue., May 22

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Wed., May 23

CC/DVS 11:30am, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00, 9:30

Thu., May 24

CC/DVS 11:00am, 1:30, 4:00, 6:45, 10:25

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Life of the Party, Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Molly Gordon, Debby Ryan, Jacki Weaver, Matt Walsh, Stephen Root, Adria Arjona, Jessie Ennis, Jimmy O. Yang, Luke Benward

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