It’s My Party And I’ll Cry If I Want To

Life Of The Party

 

She started out as Sooki St. James cooking up a storm, she stole the show and puppies on Bridesmaids, and she joked her way into our hearts with Mike and Molly.  Yes, she is Melissa McCarthy, and she is the star of tonight’s film.  With mediocre advertising and unfortunate timing, this movie is going to try to rake a few scraps of the box office to hopefully survive another weekend of run time.  Was it worth a trip to the theater?  Did it deliver what was promised?  Robbie K here to help guide you with a written review to expand on his thoughts and help spend your money wisely.  Let’s get started as we look over:

 

Movie: Life of The Party

 

Director:

Ben Falcone

Writers:

Ben Falcone,  Melissa McCarthy

Stars:

Melissa McCarthy,  Gillian Jacobs,  Debby Ryan

 

 

LIKES:

 

Cute:  The movie is unfortunately timed near some of the biggest Disney movies of the year, but it is also nicely timed on the weekend of Mother’s Day.  As such, this film goes alongside this theme, capturing the essence of the mother-daughter bond among McCarthy and her brood of eager college seniors.  Like a remake of Troop Beverly Hills and the House Bunny, Life of The Party has that adorable energy packed inside, attempting to captivate the target audience.

 

Flashback Syndrome: The movie tries to hit on a few big aspects of college life, doing a fair job to take you back in time to those glorious, or perhaps not so glorious college days. Life of The Party touching on awkward roommates, fraternity rituals, class studying, and parties makes for some dynamic opportunities for fun and adventure to rope you in.

 

Good Music:  A movie like this is always an opportunity to introduce, or reintroduce, some hits that are often in theme of the movie scenes. With partying displays in this movie, the music director did a nice job selecting a track list that works so well with the ups and downs of the film.  And given the trends of the songs these days, you can expect some comedic antics to be heavily reliant on the song for setup (see 80’s dance off).

 

Messages:  I’m a sucker for good morals being displayed in a movie, and fortunately a movie about the wilder sides of college life has some kernels of wisdom deep beneath the partying service.  D-Rock’s journey back to college involves copious amounts of work, striving to face her own demons, and more importantly the importance of empathy winning out in the day.  Yeah, there are some juvenile and rambunctious aspects that heavily coat these core values in a greasy layer of slime, but the writers eventually accomplish delivering these valued lessons.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Shallower Aspects Take Precedence: While there are solid core values, the shallower aspects are heavily emphasized in this movie.  Life of The Party’s title is no lie and the film is a big budget advertisement for wine, beer, and frat parties that state this is the real core of college.  In addition, many of the other girls have highly mocking flaws that get little evolution, further highlighting the “important” aspects of higher learning.

 

The Lack of Story:  As said in my pre-review vlog, movies with McCarthy can be fantastic if there is a purpose to ground the humor.  Life of The Party is not one of those movies, going more for the how many jokes can we throw into a 2-hour run time.  While I didn’t expect much from the trailers, I had hoped the plot would not be as paper thin as this movie held within it. For one thing the movie tried too hard to put so many aspects in the movie, making much of D-Rock’s problems disjointed and uninteresting.  The other girls get hints of getting more development, but most get dunce caps in character development, merely being comedic props/ploys for more jokes.  Even McCarthy’s character has inconsistent development, a roller coaster ride with sharp rises and falls that rapidly solve everything.

 

Drags:  The movie did not have a good pace for me, feeling very sluggish for most of the films.  Primarily at the first part of the movie, Life of The Party makes minutes feel like hours as one hopes we can arrive at the fun times, but only get paper thin qualities that are chuckle worthy at best.  It was not the most entertaining movie, and therefore left me feeling bored at times, which brings me to the next dislike.

 

Forced Comedy:  The movie’s primary dislike, is that the comedy is very forced for me for much of the movie.  For one thing, the writing was not as clever as I had hoped, designed to relentlessly drown you in cheap laughs, meme worthy one-liners, and girl drama that is more eye-rolling than comedicSecond, the delivery of the movie is okay for the most part but seemed to be directed at overdramatic presentation that was geared to characters’ stupidity or ignorance.  Finally, the tactics lacked any real diversity, leading to a tidal wave of blandness that diminished with every telling.  So, fans of the theory if it isn’t broke don’t fix it will get their money’s worth with this rigidly stiff presentation.

 

The VERDICT: 

 

In regards to this film, Life of The Party does not deceive you with the trailer, delivering what was expected as shallow laughs, loads of silly humor, with a nice cute center. Sadly, the movie really needed a touch of creativity to lighten it up, bring some wit to the deluge of low key jokes, and most importantly expand upon the characters that are the key selling point. It’s not the worst film of hers to come out, but it is also not her best and I can’t recommend this one for the theater viewing and to hold until Redbox.  Still, a mother-daughter bonding experience can be an exception if you are looking for that opportunity this weekend. 

 

My Scores are:

 

Comedy:  6.0

Movie Overall:  4.0

 

 

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An Icon of Lost Potential

Emoji

 

In today’s world, the phone isn’t used quite as the inventors pictured, with actual calling being replaced by texting and snapchat.  But one item has been developed to replace the words that are too difficult to write: Emojis. In desperation, Sony has developed a film about these icons in an attempt to break the bank with another hit animated series.  Can they succeed, or will this movie be nothing but a bombardment of sad faced emojis?  Robbie K here to answer that question for you with another review.

 

LIKES:

 

The Animation:  You can say a lot of negative things about the movie, but one plus for this reviewer is the beautiful display Sony’s team has designed.  Like many movies, the characters move with fluid grace, transitioning through their adventure with little jumpiness.  High Five (James Corden) in particular has impressive moves, as having a hand expand beyond simple hand movements can be tricky business.  In addition, I enjoyed the visualization of the world within our phone, finding clever design in the development of the internal universes of each app (primarily Instagram’s frozen pictures).  I’ll admit, the characters aren’t realistic like Pixar, or even super creative design, but there is cleverness in the world itself.

 

It’s Cute:  When it comes to cartoons/animated marvels, the pendulum can swing to either side of the age spectrum.  Fear not those with little kids, this movie is certainly geared towards the younger side, filled to the brim with color, simplistic jokes, and over the top slapstick that will make many giggle.  Sure, there are a few drier jokes that adults will get, but for the most part this movie goes back to basics for family friendliness.  One won’t have to worry about inappropriate gestures or innuendos in this film.

 

The Morals:  Movies are a powerful tool to teach the lessons we humans are too ignorant to learn from mentors, school, and the quickly fading trend of reading.  Emoji’s movie solid lesson of being yourself and not conforming to the traditional ways is as good rehash of the traditional lesson.  Those who stand out from the norm will find great relevance to Gene (T.J. Miller)  and Jailbreak’s (Anna Faris) quest and most likely grab on to the characters.  It’s also always good to see a lesson in friendship as well, quoting the movie as “Better to have one good friend, than a bunch of fake fans followers”.  The strong emphasis on this will hopefully break through the persistent firewalls of your subconscious and get you contacting your buddies.

 

DISLIKES:

 

Story:  Despite the morals infused into the story, the overall quality of Gene’s tale is very basic at best.  The Emoji movie has little sustenance to it, diving more into cramming the jokes in the short run time. After all the world building I had hoped for a little more depth to navigating the apps, facing the dangers of the cyber terror that lurk in our phones. I wanted suspense! I wanted exploration of a selection of apps. I wanted an adventure that had a little more depth behind it. I got very little of that.  All the obstacles they faced were fairly easy to circumvent, and often not worth mentioning at how lame they were. Certainly, they did a few things right (Just Dance 4), but for the most part, it was a huge loss of potential at decoding the craziness of our obsession with phones.

 

Humor:  Humor can be fun when balanced, but unfortunately Emoji movie lacks that balance, once again swinging the pendulum to the younger audience.  Most of the jokes are very simple statements that lack any finesse, or decent delivery to maximize the laughs. Much of the humor is dry, and although has adult components, lacks that clever zing that other films/programs do. James Corden rectifies this a little with High Fives self-absorbed personality, but even his banter gets stale after a while.  With all of the comedians in this movie, I really had expected more of this movie, but again missed potential.

 

Boring: If you haven’t gleamed it from the first two categories, then this should sum this up, Emoji movie is boring. There is no suspense to the adventure, and let’s face it no point, to the challenges at hand.  I found myself looking at the clock wondering how much longer I had in the ridiculous presentation of smart phone gimmicks.  Cute is always great, but it is better left to YouTube and Kid shows that are in short spans of time. Without the jokes to back it up, nor an impressive voice performance, there is just little to scream entertainment outside of watching a child’s smile light up at the colorful presentation.

 

The VERDICT:

 

You’ve seen the reviews of my colleagues, and they aren’t far from the truth… Emoji movie was a miss for Sony in terms of quality.  The lackluster jokes, lack of challenge, and reserved wit were not the right steps to take in this inconsistent adventure for success.  In fact, the best thing of this film is the animated short for Hotel Transylvania that precedes it.  Still, if you are looking for a safe, family trip to the movies, you’ve got the Emoji movie to save your bacon.  However, I highly recommend reserving this one for Netflix. 

 

My scores are:

 

Animation/Adventure/Comedy:  4.0

Movie Overall:  2.0