Life of the Party (2018)

That’s three turkeys in a row for collaborators Melissa McCarthy and director Ben Falcone, after the unpleasant one-two punch of “Tammy” and “The Boss.” Despite a potent concept and the on-screen participation of one of the funniest leading performers imaginable, “Life of the Party” lands with a deafening splat. From the first few moments it’s clear that there’s been no effort on the screenplay or character development, and while McCarthy is a welcome screen presence, director Falcone never quite seems to know what to do with her: From scene to scene, her character veers from sympathetic to laughable to grotesque, with the audience asked to either sympathize with or laugh cruelly at her, depending on the scene’s needs. It’s a mean-spirited theater of cruelty filled with jokes best described as low-hanging fruit, and it’s yet another baffling waste of McCarthy’s talents with Falcone at the helm.

Rating: ★★ (out of 5)

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