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McCarthy is 'Life of the Party'

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By Shirrel Rhoades
Columnist

Thursday, May 10, 2018

It’s a familiar movie trope, the older guy or gal who goes back to school. Rodney Dangerfield did it in the 1986 comedy, aptly titled “Back to School.” Now Melissa McCarthy does it in “Life of the Party.”

The movie’s tagline offers the setup: “Give Life the Old College Try.”

The plot: After going through a divorce, Deanna Miles (played by McCarthy) goes back to college and winds up in her daughter’s sorority. Maddie (Molly Gordon) is not happy with her mom’s proximity, fearing it will cramp her style. But nevertheless Deanna joins the sorority and parties on.

The movie’s surrounding cast drives the silly story:

Perfectly in their roles, Stephen Root plays Deanna’s dad and Jacki Weaver is her mom. Matt Walsh is Deanna’s ex and Julie Bowen is his new girlfriend. Maya Rudolph is on hand as Deanna’s best friend.

At school we meet Debby Ryan as the mean girl who heads the sorority and Yani Simon as her snarky sidekick. Heidi Gardner is Deanna’s goth roommate and Gillian Jacobs is a sorority friend. Adria Arjona and Jessie Ennie are two sorority sisters with issues. Chris Parnell is one of Deanna’s professors and Jimmy O. Yang is Maddie’s boyfriend. Luke Benward is Jack, a student who catches Deanna’s eye.

Christina Aguilera makes an appearance as herself.

And Ben Falcone (Melissa McCarthy’s real-life hubby) pops up in the movie as an Uber driver.

Melissa McCarthy not only stars in the film, but also produced and co-wrote “Life of the Party.” Her husband directed and co-wrote the film with her, their third time doing this together.

“ We have always had a really nice creative shorthand, which is why we’ve enjoyed working together so much,” says McCarthy. ( “Tammy” and “The Boss” were their first two joint movie projects.)

However, “Life of the Party” may be her favorite of the three. “This film is all about second chances and reinventing yourself,” McCarthy explains the movie’s theme. “I love when people tell me they’re starting over, doing something like moving to a foreign country. I’m from a small farm town where most people can’t do that. As I grew older, I realized you can really do anything. You can change -– your location, your job, how you see the world, what you love … anything. The possibilities are endless and exciting, and it’s a recurring theme with several of the characters I’ve played.”

One of the many reasons this movie may seem a tad familiar.

srhoades@aol.com

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