We last saw Melissa McCarthy over a year ago, as Dr. Abby Yates in 2016’s female-dominated Ghostbusters remake (unless you count her brief stint as Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night replacement). Fortunately she’s returning to the big screen with a vehicle perfectly suited to her unique brand of goofy, exaggerated humour.
McCarthy recently dropped the first trailer for Life of the Party, an outlandish comedy about a devoted mother (McCarthy) who decides to pursue a college degree after her husband (Veep’s Matt Walsh) unexpectedly leaves her. The only wrinkle? McCarthy’s character enrols in the same college as her daughter, Maddie.
Hijinks inevitably ensue, but maybe not quickly as one might expect—in the trailer, a sympathetic Maddie gives her mom, Deanna, a makeover before the two attend a crowded college party together. But Maddie’s patience starts to wear thin when Deanna gives her an unnecessarily detailed account of her sexual escapades with Jack, a fellow classmate (Deanna makes out with him in between two library bookshelves, immediately becoming a college student cliché).
According to McCarthy, Life of the Party was partially inspired by 1986’s Back to School, a college-set movie starring Rodney Dangerfield. But Life of the Party looks to have a little more heart and a little less raunchy than the Dangerfield film. Maddie berates her mom for making out with random guys and trying to bring the term “quad” back, sure. But Deanna and Maddie’s relationship is surprisingly functional and refreshingly supportive and will likely end up being the movie’s main focus, stunts, and pratfalls aside.
Plus McCarthy, like Deanna, never actually got around to graduating college either. McCarthy is a comedy icon and still one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, so clearly living a degree-less life hasn’t hindered her in the slightest. But according to Entertainment Weekly, she’s considered eventually going back to school (hopefully not too soon) and probably channelled her own feelings towards higher education while writing Life of the Party.
McCarthy co-wrote the movie with husband and frequent collaborator Ben Falcone, with whom she also co-wrote Tammy and The Boss. Neither film was received especially well (The Boss has a 4.9 rating on IMDb while Tammy has a 5.4), but we’re still cautiously optimistic about McCarthy and Falcone’s latest venture. The rest of the cast includes McCarthy’s Bridesmaids co-star Maya Rudolph (as Deanna’s best friend Christine), Debby Ryan and Gillian Jacobs (as sorority sisters), and Christina Aguilera (as herself, apparently), so what could possibly go wrong?
Life of The Party is out in theatres on May 11.