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Fashionably late: 'Life of the Party' finds itself in its final act

MELISSA McCARTHY as Deanna in New Line Cinema's comedy "LIFE OF THE PARTY," a Warner Bros. Pictures' release. (Warner Bros.)

"Life of the Party"
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Ben Falcone
Writer: Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Gillian Jacobs, Debby Ryan
Genre: Comedy
Rated: PG-13 for sexual material, drug content and partying

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - Synopsis: When her husband asks for a divorce, Deanna, a housewife with a daughter in her senior year of college, decides to go back to school and finish her degree.

Review: If you’ve seen the trailer for “Life of the Party,” the latest film from actress Melissa McCarthy and her husband, director Ben Falcone, you pretty much know that you’re signing up for a screwball comedy that relies on extreme stereotypes and outrageous situations to generate laughs.

What might surprise you is how long it takes for the film to figure out how to effectively deliver its story without stumbling over itself. Once it finds its stride in a particularly absurd dinner scene, the film is able to rise above its stock characters to deliver some well-staged chaos and the expected message about making lemons out of lemonade.

Yes, lemons out of lemonade.

I won’t try to explain -- at a certain point the amazing stupidity of the characters just becomes an accepted aspect of the universe in which this film exists. This general lack of intellect extends indiscriminately to all the film’s characters and serves the mentality of the movie’s comedic approach. McCarthy’s films, particularly those with Falcone, haven’t ever been accused of being highbrow, and while “Life of the Party” rarely pushes the limits of its PG-13 rating, it always goes for the low-hanging fruit. This approach works best when the rapid-fire jokes are replaced or accompanied by physical comedy.

“Life of the Party” isn’t great, but it is better than I expected.

If you found the “Life of the Party” trailer to be funny, or typically enjoy everything that McCarthy does, then there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy the film. If you’re looking for something on par with “Bridesmaids” or “The Heat,” “Life of the Party” never reaches that level.

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