After her husband abruptly asks for a divorce, a middle-aged mother returns to college in order to complete her degree.
One of Hollywood’s leading queens of comedy, Melissa McCarthy, heads back to school in Ben Falcone’s Life of the Party. After receiving the shocking news that her husband of over two decades wants a divorce, Deanna (McCarthy), decides to seize the day by heading back to finish her degree in archaeology.Deanna’s daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon), adjusts surprisingly well when her mom begins crashing her sorority-girl life, and it’s only a matter of time before Deanna finds herself right back in the swing of the college lifestyle with all her daughter’s friends. But despite Deanna’s efforts to hide from the grief of her regretful past among the party-culture of Decatur University, the hurt of the divorce eventually becomes too much, and Deanna is forced to ask some bigger questions concerning who she is and what she’s gotten herself into. With its primary setting being the dorms, frat houses, and the occasional study session in the library where no real studying gets done, it isn’t difficult to imagine the sort of content that, indeed, forces Dove to withhold approval. While McCarthy and her comedic co-star Maya Rudolf both shine on-screen as strong female leads capable of well-timed humor and gut-busting performances from beginning to end, the issue of content—what we’re actually laughing about—will no doubt be a problem for most families. It’s important for Dove to inform the audience that if they plan on going, they can expect a plethora of sexual jokes, drug- and alcohol-related humor (not to mention sexual- and drug/alcohol-related situations), crude language, and an overall thematic message that paints a painfully low view of what a collegiate experience ought to look like. At the end of the day, it’s a comedy. It’s not to be taken seriously, so there’s no point in critiquing it with substantial scrutiny. However, if you’re wondering whether or not the kids should go, you ought to know that all the sorts of things college-aged kids find funny make definite appearances in the film.