“Somebody’s Mum Just Enrolled In College..!”
Following on from the release of the Amy Schumer led I Feel Pretty this week, America’s second favourite female comedian of the moment, Melissa McCarthy (Spy) feels the need to grace us with her presence upon the big screen too within Life of the Party, a morbidly unfunny back-to-school drama which sees McCarthy’s recently divorced mum Deanna Miles feel the need to attend her daughter’s college in order to finally complete her degree after dropping out previously in order to care for her family. Cue dance offs, excessive drinking and sleeping with minors of an uncertain age and what we have with Life of the Party is yet another swing at attempting to create the legacy and enjoyment of a film such as National Lampoon’s Animal House albeit with a narrative twist which attempts to showcase every child’s living hell when their respective parent drops in uninvited at a party, jumper and rucksack in toe, and with contemporary coming-of-age comedies such as Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! an example of smartly written and successful on-screen American frat house debaucheries, McCarthy’s latest manages to at least capture that sense of awkward family reunions by being a film which no-one in their right mind really wants to admit to having enjoyed let alone be a part of.
With McCarthy one of the many contemporary U.S based comic actors who have failed to ignite any sense of interest thus far thanks to less than spectacular performances within the likes of The Boss and Ghostbusters, her reunion with husband Ben Falcone once again proves that her supposed potential has been put tragically to waste, with Life of the Party a soulless, cringey and overly annoying attempt at a comedy which aside from one stand-out set piece, is rather quite unbearable from beginning to end. With a whiny, screechy voice and totally awkward sensibility, McCarthy’s Deanna holds solid ground for most annoying character of the year in film, with the first hour in which we see her attempt to embed herself within the college lifestyle simply torturous to endure, and with the younger actors, particularly Molly Morgan’s Millie and Gillian Jacobs’ Helen, not only much more interesting but universally more entertaining and comedic than their elder leading star, there is indeed a somewhat successful movie embedded within the action, but just one that doesn’t happen to feature McCarthy in any shape or form. With a shock-tastic set piece towards the latter end of the movie offering the one real taste of interesting implausibility, by the time it gets around the damage has unfortunately already been done, with Life of the Party failing pretty miserably as both an example of contemporary American comedy and a project for McCarthy to thrive within, something of which backfires rather spectacularly.
Overall Score: 3/10
“My Feelings Are Huge. Maybe I’m Meant To Have More Than Just One Emotion…”
Yes, you read the title correct, The Emoji Movie is indeed a real thing. Whilst films such as Dunkirk and The Big Sick recently showcase the real wonder of what cinema can offer to a wide array of audiences, sometimes you just gotta take the dark with the light and understand that for every Apocalypse Now there is unfortunately a Gods of Egypt, and whilst it’s never healthy to enter an auditorium with preconceived notions about the overall quality of a particular movie, a film entirely based on the existence of Emoji’s does inherently and fundamentally lead you to hold your head heavily in your hands and await your fate. So, enter the foyer and grab your ticket as you grip tightly the cold, smooth surface of your overly priced fizzy pop which aids you in your journey through the passages of hell as you grace your sticky, oversized seat and watch a movie about cartoon faeces and gigantic thumbs. And breathe. One could argue that with The Emoji Movie undoubtedly being a movie aimed at the younger variety of audiences in its’ creation, the thought of a 23 year old coffee maniac sitting down and reviewing it does seem rather disjointed, yet after managing to survive one of the most painful 85 minutes of my entire cinematic life, the horror and sheer toxicity of a film such as The Emoji Movie doesn’t deserve just to be reviewed, it deserves to be stripped down from top to bottom and dissected in hope that the many, many troubling issues at the heart of it can be highlighted to as many as possible in the hope that it simply fades away from cinema entirely.
As mentioned by many already, the overall narrative of The Emoji Movie rather unfortunately bears a sickening similarity to the masterpiece of animation which is Inside Out, a film which effectively highlighted the complications of an emotion-ridden child and built a world within which was both intelligent and fluffy enough to serve both a young and elder audience. With The Emoji Movie however, the key message of the film is for young children to simply use their mobile devices as a way of living your life from beginning to end, where instead of socialising through conversation and active involvement with others, apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Just Dance should be bought and used instead in order to really succeed in life at such an early stage, and whilst such a narrative is inherently toxic and vulgar, the film is made worse by the straight-faced manner in which such a message is played rather than there being any air of irony or satire to accept it. Amidst awful dialogue consisting of conversations regarding piracy, hackers and internet trolls, the evoking of swear words and sexual references make The Emoji Movie one of the most misjudged U certificate films I have ever seen, and with enough saccharin sweet awfulness and ear-piercing musical pieces to make you want to throw up in the aisle, animation has never hit levels so desperately low. In the 1990’s growing up, my generation had The Lion King. In 2017, the animation of the summer is The Emoji Movie, a hate-filled barrel of toxic slumber which deserves to be derided by everyone who pays to see it. What prevents it from being one star you ask? It’s only 80 minutes of your life you will never, ever get back.