Review / ‘Life of the Party’ (M) **

MELISSA McCarthy. Actress. Plump, vociferous, willing to take pratfalls for the sake of her art, capable of delivering great comedy.

Writer of three screenplays for which she went on to play the principal character. Married to Ben Falconer who now directs her films (a chore that she has been known to share).

Filthy rich from a variety of business ventures.

You’ve seen one of her films? Then you’ve pretty much seen them all.

Funny? Depends on which kind. Ha ha funny? Yes, once, when playing opposite Bill Murray in “St Vincent”. Peculiar funny? Often, especially when playing a character she has written for herself to perform.

The latest of which is Deanna, married to Dan (Matt Walsh), mother of Maddie whom she and Dan have just delivered to Decatur University to begin her freshman year. Effusive as she farewells her little daughter. About to get the shock of her life, because she and Dan haven’t even driven off campus when Dan tells her that he’s leaving her for a more interesting woman.

After expunging Dan’s material effects from her life, Deanna decides to go back to university to complete the Archaeology degree that she had to set aside on becoming pregnant with Maddie.

With these few snippets of information, intelligent cinemagoers should have little difficulty working out what’s going to happen in a plot about a woman whose academic development stopped two decades ago and who tries to resuscitate it on the same terms among young women and one young man whose intellectual and cultural development denies anything that happened before they were born.

About the only aspect of the film meriting particular mention is a cameo appearance by Jacki Weaver playing Deanne’s mom.

At Capitol 6, Dendy, Hoyts and Limelight

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