Blu-ray Review Comedy

‘Life of the Party’ Blu-ray Review: Melissa McCarthy’s Back-to-School Comedy is More Lifeless than Lively

August 7, 2018Ben MK

When the kids head to college, it usually means that it's the parents' turn to relax and enjoy the benefits of an empty nest. But when Deanna Miles' (Melissa McCarthy) husband, Dan (Matt Walsh), announces that he wants a divorce after they drop their daughter, Maddie (Molly Gordon), off for her final year at Decatur University, Deanna decides it's time to reclaim her independence — by returning to Decatur to complete her archeology degree.

Naturally, Maddie is apprehensive about the whole situation. However, that feeling of nervousness soon turns to one of unwavering positive reinforcement, as she and her fellow sisters at Theta Mu Gamma — Debbie (Jessie Ennis), Amanda (Adria Arjona) and "Coma Girl" Helen (Gillian Jacobs) — quickly become Deanna's best friends and support system. Throw in a lovelorn suitor named Jack (Luke Benward), a bitter rival named Jennifer (Debby Ryan), and a creepy roommate named Leonor (Heidi Gardner), and you have the makings of a potentially laugh-out-loud, back-to-school comedy.

Unfortunately, Life of the Party never reaches those hilarious heights, as McCarthy's real-life husband, director and co-writer Ben Falcone, plays it far too safe with the film's humor. That said, this may not be the all-women version of Old School that some viewers might be expecting, but the movie's positive messages about female friendships and the fact that you're never too old to achieve your dreams does help set it apart.

Life of the Party arrives on Blu-ray boasting a perfectly satisfactory 1080p encode and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, neither of which are truly stand out, but both of which get the job done quite amicably. Despite some soft-focus photography, picture detail and color saturation are generally quite good across the board, and while the film's sound design is largely dialogue-driven, the surround channels do get a nice workout during an '80s-themed party sequence, thanks to classic tunes from the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Billy Ocean, not to mention a lively performance of "Fighter" from Christina Aguilera late in the movie.

Warner's two-disc Blu-ray combo pack includes a DVD copy of the film and an UltraViolet digital copy, as well as the following Blu-ray extras:

  • '80s Party (4:51) - A look at the fashion, dance moves and pop culture references that grace the screen during the movie's '80s party sequence.
  • Mom Sandwich (2:45) - Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone talk about how her real-life parents inspired the characters of Deanna's parents, Mike and Sandy.
  • Deleted Scenes (46:36) - Seventeen scenes ("Uber Australian Version," "Mom Call," "Racquetball," "Guidance Counselor," "Quad Walk," "Archeology Class," "Shots," "Archeology Class 2," "Pop & Lock," "Walk of Pride," "Earring," "Restaurant," "Weed Bark," "Sandbag," "Spider Gloves," "80% Christina" and "Truzac").
  • Line-O-Rama: Line-O-Rama (3:02) - A montage of scenes featuring the cast improvising their lines.
  • Line-O-Rama: Bill Hate-O Rama (2:44) - Another scene highlighting the cast's talent for improvisation.
  • Gag Reel (5:25)

Life of the Party is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of August 7th, 2018. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 45 min.

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