Life of the Party


Director: Ben Falcone
Writers: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy and Chris Henchy
Released: May 2018
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Molly Gordon, Stephen Root, Jacki Weaver

I love Melissa McCarthy, but I lowered my expectations after reading a fair few below-average reviews about her new film Life of the Party.

This didn’t deter me though, so my brother-in-law and I went to the cinema. Within ten minutes we were choking on our popcorn during fits of laughter, and getting stitches as we tried to stifle our chortles! Almost every scene was hilarious. By the end of the film, I had mascara streaked down my cheeks and a mild headache from trying not to laugh too loud.


It is by far the funniest film I’ve seen so far this year. (Although, as the only film I’ve seen so far this year is A Quiet Place, Darkest Hour and Split I guess that’s not saying much.)

It’s about a kind and sweet mother called Deanna (Melissa McCarthy), whose husband suddenly tells her he wants a divorce. Within a week, she picked herself up and decided to finish her archeology degree at the same college/university as her daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon).


Deanna: I’m down to clown.

Life of the Party is co-written and directed by McCarthy’s real-life husband Ben Falcone (AKA Air Marshall John), who tends to have a cameo in her films. (This movie was no exception, so keep an eye out for him.)

It must have been so hard for him to write and direct his wife doing kissing scenes… I watched an interview about it and he said the love scene was shot on their tenth anniversary. But it was okay, he said. They seem so down to earth as a couple! I love them.

Quick fact: McCarthy and Falcone’s fathers feature in the film as the racquetball guys.

What makes this movie great is how wholesome and lovable Deanna is, and how the majority of characters love her too! There’s always a couple of mean girls at uni of course – Jennifer (Debby Ryan) and her side-kick – but Deanna takes them in her stride and has some very cheesy come-backs.


But the real ‘bad-guy’ is her husband’s new wife, Marcie (Julie Bowen, AKA the mum from Modern Family). She does an incredible job of being evil, and the story becomes rather revengeful. Which, is extremely entertaining.

There are a couple of scenes in particular that made me lose control in thick fits of giggles. One of them is the infamous presentation scene where poor Deanna gets so nervous that she sweats profusely. After reaching for tissues to dab her face with, she turns around to reveal her cheeks covered with white fluff where the tissue stuck to her. I lost it.

The other scene to look forward to is the dance-off where Deanna goes to a 1980s themed party and has a dance fight with horrid Jennifer. I died.


And in between these scenes is Maya Rudolph’s character, Christine! Holy Jesus, she was so so funny. She was brilliant! I want a best friend like Christine.


With limited swearing and rudeness, Life of the Party is a feel-good film. There are a couple of characters I’d change up, but for the most part you will be grinning in between fits of laugh-out-loud hysterics. You’ll leave the cinema with a page out of Deanna’s book of being super friendly, motherly and kind to everyone.

In fact, I went to Sainsbury’s after this film and I was still channeling Deanna’s positivity. I must have traded my ‘resting bitch face’ for a grin because a lot of people were smiling back at me. Not sure if this was to do with my panda eyes though.

My advice is to ignore the below average reviews, take this sweet film at face value and have a laugh. It’ll make you feel better.

I’m so keen to see this movie again.

Jodie’s rating: 6.5/10

About NZ Film Freak

I am a journalism graduate (2014) from New Zealand. Currently working in marketing, and writing fiction in my spare time. I love to write about movies on this blog when I can. I also do paid reviews and voiceovers via Fiverr (nzfilmfreak).
This entry was posted in All Film Reviews, comedy, Date Night Movies, Editor's Pick, Girls' Night Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Life of the Party

  1. Pingback: Top 20: Best Mums in Movies | NZ Film Freak

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