Critics Consensus

Life of the Party Crashes

Plus, Breaking In lacks thrills, but Showtime's Patrick Melrose is an incisive drama, and Revenge and Beast are Certified Fresh.

by | May 10, 2018 | Comments

This weekend at the movies, we have Melissa McCarthy stirring memories of the Triple Lindy (Life of the Party, co-starring Molly Godron Gillian Jacobs) and  Gabrielle Union teaching some unlucky kidnappers a few tough lessons in a mother’s love  (Breaking In, co-starring Ajiona Alexus and Billy Burke). What are the critics saying?


Life of the Party (2018) 38%


College: a time and place for young people to discover who they are by seeking out new experiences and daring to try new things outside the bonds of family. Usually, anyway — sometimes your mom ends up going back to school at your university and totally (albeit unintentionally) harshing your vibe. Such is life for Life of the Party‘s Maddie Miles (Molly Gordon), who finds herself sharing a campus with her mother Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) after her parents split up. It’s a painful new chapter for Deanna, but she turns lemons into lemonade by — as one might reasonably infer from the title — discovering her inner twentysomething, taking full advantage of college life so enthusiastically that her fellow co-eds nickname her Dee Rock. If you’re reading this and thinking you’ve seen these storyline beats play out before in Rodney Dangerfield‘s Back to School, well, you aren’t far off; unfortunately, critics say it’s nowhere near as funny this time around. McCarthy remains a fierce talent, and she’s surrounded with a terrific supporting cast here, including Maya Rudolph, Gillian Jacobs, and Matt Walsh, but reviews describe Life of the Party as a frustratingly middling comedy that never really figures out what to do with all that talent and fails to produce consistent laughs. With all these funny people in one place, the end result isn’t without a few moments, but all things considered, this is a serviceable premise that’s already been explored to more entertaining effect.

Breaking In (2018) 27%


As Sally Field taught us in Not Without My Daughter, there’s no situation too dangerous or daunting to keep a mother from her child — and this weekend, Gabrielle Union is delivering that lesson all over again with Breaking In, in which hell hath no fury like a woman whose kids have been taken captive and held for ransom in a home equipped with a seemingly impenetrable security system. It’s an appealingly gonzo setup for a movie being released in time for Mother’s Day, and Union, always a strong screen presence, would seem to be well-matched for the role of a woman prepared to prove that, as the poster promises, “payback is a mother.” Alas, what looks interesting on paper often tends to lose its way on the journey to the big screen, and that appears to be the case for Breaking In. Critics say that while Union is clearly committed to the role — and the best thing about the movie — it isn’t enough to make up for thinly sketched characters and a slapdash plot that evaporates under scrutiny. Union deserves more chances to prove she can carry a picture — and hopefully, this won’t be the last time Hollywood serves up a left-field choice for Mother’s Day weekend — but in the meantime, this is one thriller you don’t need to rush out and see.

What’s New on TV

Patrick Melrose: Miniseries (2018) 90%

Patrick Melrose is a scathing indictment of British high society’s inherited dysfunction, cruelty, and the wealth that enables them. The Crown this ain’t.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

technology Amazon Alien game of thrones justice league Animation The Purge cults Disney+ Disney Plus Infographic science fiction E! Character Guide latino Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hist transformers independent 2018 Tumblr Best and Worst Adult Swim YouTube Red RT21 doctor who medical drama Film Festival adventure BBC One 2017 NYCC venice renewed TV shows Pop TV Pet Sematary Fall TV best Reality Competition USA Network Apple Discovery Channel Country Tarantino blaxploitation Toys 99% Nickelodeon Comedy Disney Baby Yoda Shondaland Marvel Television Marathons singing competition A24 E3 007 Lucasfilm MCU talk show Amazon Prime Crunchyroll Spring TV comics vampires BET Awards miniseries New York Comic Con Masterpiece Apple TV Plus Mystery ABC Family travel toy story SXSW japanese TCA 2017 Amazon Prime Video Academy Awards Amazon Studios free movies 24 frames Nat Geo HBO Go video on demand Superheroe VICE Walt Disney Pictures Logo discovery animated Awards Tour all-time Sundance TV Acorn TV The Academy emmy awards green book politics Summer witnail Grammys italian quibi anime Disney Channel cancelled TV shows television VOD Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Pop christmas movies Ellie Kemper BAFTA jamie lee curtis Star Trek south america worst cops Starz Brie Larson Star Wars sag awards OneApp ghosts Arrowverse Rock dark worst movies Musicals Captain marvel Netflix rt archives 20th Century Fox Marvel Studios DirecTV criterion nbcuniversal Britbox Year in Review reviews 72 Emmy Awards stand-up comedy SundanceTV Reality movies CNN Hulu Certified Fresh President dceu Mary Poppins Returns USA streaming Photos Rom-Com Crackle spanish language scorecard GLAAD Fantasy blockbuster TV Endgame stop motion Writers Guild of America Tomatazos TIFF The CW The Walking Dead dc San Diego Comic-Con dragons Horror sports X-Men Warner Bros. ratings slashers robots documentaries Music cartoon thriller tv talk deadpool Classic Film YouTube Premium Freeform spain FX on Hulu Sneak Peek 21st Century Fox GIFs Dark Horse Comics History TV Land CBS Elton John BET universal monsters OWN Pride Month Podcast stoner sequel HBO Calendar Black History Month Kids & Family Schedule 2015 reboot hollywood LGBTQ A&E black Vudu children's TV space chucky festivals Columbia Pictures football Western El Rey strong female leads psycho french classics Television Critics Association a nightmare on elm street RT History halloween tv zombies HBO Max critics FX Binge Guide Pixar TCM Television Academy Action fresh Sundance Now Disney streaming service Hear Us Out Comedy Central child's play Ovation cancelled satire 45 revenge rotten movies we love cancelled TV series diversity cancelled television screenings cats Universal TCA Awards Epix parents laika name the review crime comiccon Sundance American Society of Cinematographers dramedy 71st Emmy Awards Women's History Month series WGN zero dark thirty DC streaming service NBC Video Games Countdown Extras Apple TV+ Emmys WarnerMedia concert mockumentary psychological thriller james bond cars TBS festival 4/20 cooking Ghostbusters VH1 Emmy Nominations anthology AMC social media Chernobyl news war Anna Paquin aliens Fox News breaking bad Winter TV PlayStation Turner Classic Movies Syfy 2020 Tubi Nominations Super Bowl Premiere Dates adaptation Comic Book Interview canceled hispanic sitcom Superheroes Box Office biography nature historical drama comedies romantic comedy Spectrum Originals Song of Ice and Fire screen actors guild Holidays Biopics IFC TNT natural history Holiday Disney Plus Drama nfl Election romance FXX ID disaster Set visit spanish casting Cannes GoT mission: impossible award winner asian-american composers mutant Heroines indiana jones Cartoon Network Paramount Network Lifetime boxing directors dogs ABC versus Sci-Fi Shudder Mary poppins Oscars game show video Lionsgate spider-man theme song DC Comics documentary crossover canceled TV shows Lifetime Christmas movies comic what to watch die hard spy thriller richard e. Grant PaleyFest IFC Films Marvel Sony Pictures TCA Winter 2020 spinoff PBS Trivia Film werewolf Mary Tyler Moore LGBT Thanksgiving franchise Valentine's Day BBC docudrama MSNBC scary movies Fox Searchlight elevated horror binge films crime thriller remakes Mudbound Rocketman australia Comics on TV Trophy Talk Pirates toronto Cosplay MTV ESPN book Bravo 2016 batman sequels Awards First Reviews Showtime Netflix Christmas movies Spike police drama fast and furious Musical supernatural indie zombie rotten unscripted twilight TV renewals joker obituary Watching Series harry potter YouTube Paramount superhero Family Esquire DGA comic books Peacock serial killer teaser Black Mirror Food Network Opinion 2019 Creative Arts Emmys Travel Channel true crime halloween Stephen King DC Universe SDCC CW Seed Christmas cinemax Red Carpet golden globes See It Skip It TCA Hallmark period drama Polls and Games Funimation CBS All Access boxoffice finale Avengers FOX kids National Geographic Turner political drama Trailer Martial Arts The Arrangement based on movie crime drama foreign Teen facebook Hallmark Christmas movies APB movie Rocky YA CMT The Witch Mindy Kaling First Look TLC Quiz BBC America ITV Winners TruTV archives