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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

He's His Own Faux Pas

Life of the Party (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

A car crosses a long bridge to drop 22-year-old coed Maddie Miles (Molly Gordon) at her ThetaMGamma sorority house. She is “pretty as ever” entering her senior year (“This is the one that takes you to the finish line”) at Decatur University. Her mom Deanna Miles (Melissa McCarthy), wearing a sweat­shirt that says “PROUD”—above a large heart—is going to miss her. They are demon­stra­bly close (“I'm only twenty-two minutes away.”)

Deanna is set now to enjoy four weeks in Italy with her husband Dan (Matt Walsh), but he springs a surprise announce­ment on her: “I wanna divorce.” He's in love with their real estate agent Marcie Strong (Julie Bowen) and wants to make a “clean break”, keeping the house that's in his name.

Deanna discusses her situation with her parents Mike (Stephen Root) and Sandy (Jacki Weaver). She'd left college entering her senior year when she become pregnant allowing her husband to finish his degree. “What kind of man makes his pregnant wife drop out of college with one year to go?” asks Mike. He wants to shoot him.

Her best friend Christine Davenport (Maya Rudolph) has an idea. Deanna enrolls to finish her archae­ology degree (“Once a dig-head, always a dig-head”), moves into Dumas Hall, takes a class from Prof. Ray Trudeau (who once was her class­mate), and proceeds to make lemonade out of lemons. She befriends her new room­mate Leonor (Heidi Gardner)—as in the Leonore Over­ture from Beetoven's opera Fidelio. She hobnobs with her daughter and friends Helen “coma girl” (Gillian Jacobs), undeclared Amanda (Adria Arjona), and neurotic Debbie (Jessie Ennis.) She parties hearty (“Full velocity!”) and for her aural report on Atilla the Hun declaims on “The Thrilla About Atilla.”


God has a decided negative view of divorce (“putting away”). (Malachi 2:14) “Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.” Here the husband Dan “dealt treacherously” with “the wife of [his] youth” his “companion” with whom he'd entered a covenant. He was upgrading to a new model.

(Malachi 2:15) “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And where­fore one? That he might seek a godly seed. There­fore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacher­ously against the wife of his youth.” From the beginning (Gen. 2:24) God had made the couple one to promote a godly offspring.

(Malachi 2:16) “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: there­fore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” There is often violence associated with splitting up (“one covereth violence with his garment”) as in hiding bruises with one's clothes. Here it was Deanna who did violence pounding Dan's car, tossing his stuff out the window, and committing violence against his person at the end under cover of her cap. Dan for his part seemed to want to restrict the violence done in divorcing her, making it quick like ripping off a bandage.

Returning to college after so many years posed its own challenges. (Prov. 20:29) “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.” She no longer had the vigor of youth. Although she seemed to do okay at dancing—with some help from a body double—she was not up for long excursions during break. She was doing great academically, however.

Methodology is
importantHer professor's blackboard was crammed with info, but the phrase that stuck out was: “Methodology is imperative.” She was analyzing whether the discovered grave of Atilla the Hun was genuine or not, citing a Carbon–14 analysis. Knowing the rate of decay of C–14 to its stable isotope C–12, scientists can measure the proportion of the two isotopes in once living matter to determine how old it is. I shall cite a similar method­ology from an Andrew Gross novel: (127–128, 133)

“Physics is a lot more than just formulas and equations, son. It has real-world applications. Things people want to know very badly.” …

“You're going to hear a lot about atoms, boy. and various gases. Things called isotopes.”

“Isotopes …?”

“You're familiar with the molecular structure of mass?”

Leo shrugged. “I studied the elements chart in chemistry. Back in school.”

“That's a start. Well, atoms of the same element can have different numbers of neutrons. The different possible versions are called isotopes.” …

“So let's start with something basic. Graham's Law. It was formulated by a Scottish chemist in the [19th] century. It states that the rate of effusion is inversely proportional to the square root of either its mass or density.”

Effusion? And just what does that mean?” …

“… effusion is the rate of transference of a gas through a probe or, better yet, a membrane. Graham's Law postulates that if the molecular weight of one gas is two times that of another, it will diffuse through a porous layer, or even an opening the size of a pin­hole, at the rate of the other times the square of two. It is the key postulate in the separation of isotopes—which have the same molecular structure yet different atomic weights.”

“Separating isotopes … Porous layers … Why do you need to teach me all this?” Leo shrugged, clearly already a bit bored. …

“That's Lesson One,” Alfred replied. “It's enough for today.”

“Lesson One …” Leo cocked his head a little warily. “One of …?”

Hundreds, my boy.” Alfred slapped him on the shoulder. “Hundreds. However, I must warn you, tomorrow it actually starts to get a little complicated.”

Fortunately for us Deanna's aural presentation left out a lot of the scientific details, and the director cut out some of her talk for the sake of brevity. Still, if methodology is imperative and it has real world application, we need to look at how it affects the rest of the movie's story. Deanna's subject is unwieldy, so let's look at another student's presentation. But there weren't any more shown. Okay, but the class seemed to accept drop-ins readily enough, and I was in the class as part of a movie audience, so I'll just give my own report. Borrow one from a song, to be more precise:

          I'm My Own Grandpa

I was married to a widow
Who was pretty as can be.

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her
And soon they too were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law
And really changed my life.
Now my daughter was my mother,
'Cause she was my father's wife.

The song goes on in the same vein, but that's enough to establish a methodology. When Deanna is inducted into Maddie's sorority, Maddie becomes her (sorority) sister. Since her daughter is her sister, that means ipso facto they have the same father. This is not nuclear physics. Deanna has been a bad girl. Bad, bad, bad. She gets spanked at her initiation and I must say she deserves it.

Graduation DayThen comes the big graduation day. Mother and daughter/sister graduate together. Since they graduate from the same institution, they have the same alma mater. Alma mater is Latin for fostering mother. Now they have the same mother, too. Deanna and Maddie are sisters-german having both the same father and mother.

Leonor's cousin obviates the cozen raising tuition money. “We ladies got to stick together,” she says. And the real estate agent was a home wrecker.

Studies have shown that the woman usually fares better emotionally after a divorce than does the man, partly because women being more sociable have established outside networks that help them cope. Here Deanna has friends, makes new ones, and gets even closer to her daughter bordering on pseudo-incest in this movie's raunchy presentation.

Production Values

This comedy, “” (2018) was directed by Melissa McCarthy's real life husband, Ben Falcone. It was written by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone (her husband the director.) It stars Melissa McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Stephen Root and Jacki Weaver. McCarthy performed decently, not her crowning opus but at least a contender. The supporting characters Maya Rudolph and Heidi Gardner added their own touch of humor. Gillian Jacobs the “coma girl” stole all the scenes she was in.

It's a scientific fact that a woman's sexual maturity occurs later (like in her 40s & 50s) than a man's (like in his teens to 20s.) There­fore a sexual connection of the mom with a college kid is credible if the right older woman is cast for the part. In terms of attrac­tive­ness Melissa McCarthy has a great personality. I wonder if she being an established star, the script writer, and the director's wife had any influence on her securing the part.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for sexual material, drug content and partying. The humor was predictably low brow, but the divorcee was not as bitter as she might have been in her circum­stances. The film was actually well balanced on several levels with a well paced raft of humor and a guest music star appearance.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

I personally don't care for McCarthy's loud, abrasive voice, but I allow an artist to express her­self as she sees fit. The woman she played had a sympathetic side as well as an academic one. Too bad she was miscast for the part. Other­wise the movie exceeded my expectations. They gave it the old college try.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well, at least you can't see the strings. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is taken from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

The novelty song, “I'm My Own Grandpa” was written by Dwight Latham & Moe Jaffe in 1947. Public domain. WEB.

Gross, Andrew. The One Man. New York: Minotaur Books, 2016. Print.