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

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