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

  • The Escape (2017) , starring Gemma Arterton as a woman who abandons her life and family to start over somewhere new, is at 92%.
  • Beast (2017) , about a man and woman whose relationship is tested after he’s arrested as the key suspect in a series of murders, is Certified Fresh at 91%.
  • Revenge (2017) , in which a young woman (Matilda Lutz) pursues the titular satisfaction after being brutalized and left for dead by a group of men, is at 91%.
  • Mountain (2017) , a documentary about the world’s towering natural vistas and the people who climb them, is at 90%.
  • Class Rank (2017) , a high school comedy from director Eric Stoltz, is at 88%.
  • Filmworker (2017) , a documentary look at Leon Vitali, whose behind-the-scenes presence was instrumental in Stanley Kubrick‘s career, is at 87%.
  • Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2017) , a documentary about the young life and early career of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, is at 86%.
  • Lu Over the Wall (2017) , the latest anime outing from director Masaaki Yuasa, is at 81%.
  • The Day After (2017) , a relationship drama from prolific writer-director Hong Sang-soo, is at 79%.
  • The Seagull (2018) , a new adaptation of the Chekhov play starring Annette Bening and Saoirse Ronan, is at 73%.
  • Anything (2017) , a drama about the seemingly unlikely friendship that develops between a middle-aged man and his new transgender neighbor, is at 56%.
  • Measure of a Man (2018) , a coming-of-age story about a 14-year-old boy in the mid-’70s, is at 50%.
  • Always at the Carlyle (2018) , a documentary about the titular New York hotel, is at 20%.
  • Terminal (2018) , starring Margot Robbie in the story of two hitmen who take a job and realize they might be in over their heads, is at 7%.

Tag Cloud

psychological thriller Rock ratings Elton John Teen adaptation legend spy thriller book adaptation Apple TV Plus animated TV One IFC BAFTA spain Academy Awards 90s scene in color Oscars Tomatazos fresh YA Pride Month rotten movies we love Pixar Holidays reviews Amazon blockbuster Funimation OWN werewolf spinoff Musical remakes The Walt Disney Company Video Games 2017 worst movies monster movies BET First Look 79th Golden Globes Awards posters saw suspense Stephen King Tarantino Film rt labs American Society of Cinematographers First Reviews science fiction YouTube Premium new york king arthur book adventure prank Columbia Pictures 24 frames Food Network dceu Esquire Winners TV movies The Arrangement Super Bowl critic resources Drama obituary Marvel Television Disney Channel Emmys Dark Horse Comics Exclusive Video biopic Disney streaming service all-time Television Critics Association feel good Sony Pictures laika comedies TLC Family pirates of the caribbean live event hollywood NBA TV renewals cancelled TV series TCA Winter 2020 superhero richard e. Grant stop motion slashers Comics on TV DC streaming service comic book movies CNN The Academy Reality gangster Shondaland Star Trek The Walking Dead Mary Poppins Returns BBC America RT History hidden camera strong female leads films popular mutant CBS BBC One Awards Tour Disney TCM emmy awards Fox Searchlight screen actors guild mission: impossible biography LGBTQ Logo sag awards political drama high school Vudu documentary Tags: Comedy Pacific Islander Hallmark Christmas movies romance Television Academy Tumblr El Rey travel Baby Yoda Toys lord of the rings war Marathons Hollywood Foreign Press Association Turner Classic Movies medical drama award winner justice league Syfy Netflix Captain marvel canceled TV shows kaiju elevated horror 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards BBC The Purge Interview Fall TV action-comedy Best and Worst DC Comics Netflix Christmas movies Lifetime Christmas movies slasher golden globe awards razzies Image Comics PBS Winter TV composers streaming blaxploitation thriller 73rd Emmy Awards spanish language supernatural satire Adult Swim A24 fast and furious Podcast Avengers french Chernobyl cops cinemax Action singing competition ViacomCBS Sneak Peek superman Paramount twilight teaser mcc PaleyFest NYCC harry potter rt archives Holiday ID trophy TCA 2017 ABC psycho royal family criterion franchise robots Infographic docuseries cats trailers cars LGBT SundanceTV comiccon Watching Series 71st Emmy Awards San Diego Comic-Con Spring TV venice TNT diversity Lionsgate movie DGA National Geographic facebook Mary poppins children's TV sopranos New York Comic Con FX on Hulu halloween tv Trailer Superheroe video spider-man Hulu Amazon Prime Video Masterpiece FXX IFC Films Discovery Channel E3 nature DC Universe 2018 comic books black comedy game show Film Festival BET Awards king kong Lifetime 93rd Oscars asian-american social media toy story 4/20 Trivia Kids & Family Pirates quibi The CW new star wars movies heist movie SXSW true crime Sundance TV marvel cinematic universe Prime Video Travel Channel new zealand ghosts spanish X-Men Black Mirror talk show Ovation Cosplay Horror stand-up comedy women screenings Lucasfilm serial killer festival Star Wars Freeform Spike parents movies target Biopics Hallmark dogs crime drama period drama Mary Tyler Moore 72 Emmy Awards Tokyo Olympics Certified Fresh casting Martial Arts hispanic Ellie Kemper crime thriller USA Network worst Universal Pictures Country Mudbound ITV Nominations Tubi Sundance Now dramedy natural history Warner Bros. hispanic heritage month Pop TV italian crossover stoner VH1 Marvel Studios disaster Spectrum Originals black Animation football GoT toronto Red Carpet Brie Larson joker Apple TV+ comic Crackle Western crime TCA Amazon Prime streaming movies ESPN Cartoon Network HBO Go concert 007 festivals godzilla Binge Guide CMT die hard basketball Comedy Central Fargo zombie Election tv talk Black History Month Universal historical drama SDCC dreamworks aapi deadpool doctor who Acorn TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Set visit discovery batman know your critic Broadway Ghostbusters Superheroes Hear Us Out MTV Showtime genre child's play Thanksgiving Walt Disney Pictures television MSNBC halloween directors latino Pet Sematary blockbusters Opinion Bravo Mindy Kaling DirecTV indiana jones Disney Plus mob rotten zombies Schedule 20th Century Fox 45 vs. RT21 PlayStation politics Christmas Musicals telelvision Anna Paquin olympics Heroines indie binge VOD docudrama Song of Ice and Fire Comic Book Photos live action wonder woman dragons TruTV GLAAD VICE ABC Family Summer FX kids best CBS All Access sitcom documentaries versus Writers Guild of America AMC miniseries MCU Alien Wes Anderson Quiz jurassic park Pop Crunchyroll Year in Review cults Paramount Plus free movies cartoon scary movies leaderboard A&E Rocketman news Sci-Fi spider-verse USA dark Character Guide archives Nickelodeon Classic Film Creative Arts Emmys WGN Britbox what to watch comics christmas movies The Witch Valentine's Day japanese nfl 99% ABC Signature jamie lee curtis Polls and Games kong Fox News President Starz breaking bad Premiere Dates Rom-Com Peacock Amazon Studios golden globes scorecard Sundance theme song witnail 1990s Grammys Nat Geo NBC anthology chucky Women's History Month independent Cannes a nightmare on elm street 2021 2020 FOX cancelled TV shows reboot Reality Competition Arrowverse debate Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Box Office canceled classics YouTube HFPA unscripted technology Shudder Emmy Nominations Comedy Trophy Talk Turner vampires australia History Comic-Con@Home 2021 Rocky Fantasy marvel comics E! Marvel Awards nbcuniversal OneApp video on demand Countdown foreign rom-coms 2015 transformers APB hist james bond game of thrones TV Land revenge scary Paramount Network cancelled CW Seed cancelled television Mystery See It Skip It boxing 2019 TV police drama Instagram Live Epix YouTube Red HBO Max space comic book movie Apple series dc based on movie romantic comedy finale Neflix 21st Century Fox Music HBO sequel aliens mockumentary Endgame young adult AMC Plus zero dark thirty TIFF 2016 sequels Disney+ Disney Plus art house sports japan critics boxoffice adenture cooking renewed TV shows Extras south america universal monsters IMDb TV anime name the review green book WarnerMedia TCA Awards Calendar dexter GIFs Legendary TBS rt labs critics edition international