Life of the Party Parent Guide
This foray into college life delivers the type of education most parents do not want their children to receive.
Parent Movie Review
“Follow your dreams” are familiar words to generations of high school grads. Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) put her dream of an archaeology career on hold when she married Ben (Matt Walsh), became pregnant with Maddie (Molly Gordon), and dropped out of university. Fast forward twenty plus years and Matt tells Deanna he wants a divorce – “an upgrade in my life”. He has a new girlfriend and has already begun the sale of their home. With her world turned upside down, Deanna decides to return to school, complete the remaining year of her degree, and achieve her goal. The only catch is that daughter Maddie is a senior at the same institution.
Maddie is originally less than enthusiastic about her mother’s return to college. Deanna has a high octane personality and lacks a verbal filter and Maddie squirms as her mother shares embarrassing childhood stories with her sorority sisters. But they quickly come to appreciate her resilience and joie de vivre. After an episode with some mean girls, Maddie throws herself into helping her mother feel at home in her new environment.
The movie’s most positive messages stem from Deanna’s personality and her relationship with Maddie. She is irrepressibly cheerful and consistently kind to others, including her morose roommate. Her courage, enthusiasm, and determination inspire the sorority girls. Although Deanna faints while giving an oral presentation in class, she tries again and succeeds. The mother-daughter relationship is warm and affectionate. Deanna is devoted to her daughter and Maddie loves her mom enough to forgive some very poor behavior on her mother’s part.
And there is plenty of bad behavior to forgive. Parents will be concerned about the number of reckless activities Deanna engages in, particularly her sexual promiscuity. Deanna goes to a party and has impulsive sex with one of the young men at the frat house, which is followed by sex in the library stacks and an implied continuing relationship. There is no visible sexual activity or nudity but the intent is clear. Deanna and other characters also drink heavily in social situations with one character encouraging Deanna to get “jackhammer blasted”. Another tells her that irresponsible alcohol use is the way to manage stress, “You’re in college now. You’ve got to learn to party through it.” Deanna and her young friends also inadvertently eat large quantities of marijuana laced snacks.
The pot edibles lead to further inappropriate conduct. While stoned, Deanna and her friends crash the wedding of her ex-husband. Originally intended as a friendly visit, the women get offended and vandalize the reception, throwing over tables, breaking glassware, and smashing the wedding cake. Ben and his new wife are understandably outraged and Ben cuts off Deanna’s financial support.
This leads to further ethical lapses. With no money coming in, Deanna decides to drop out, until her young friends plan a fundraising party on her behalf. When no one attends the event, due to a rock concert on the same night, one of the young women places a false notification on social media promising a celebrity visit. Large crowds descend on the sorority house and only an unlikely event saves the day.
The story ends with Deanna achieving her dream of an archaeology degree. But this film is unlikely to be a dream come true for families. Although Deanna exemplifies many positive character traits and the female characters model supportive relationships, the content issues are too serious for Life of the Party to be recommended for children. The movie’s depictions of drug use, rampant alcohol consumption, sexual promiscuity, and criminal activities (vandalism and fraud) are the type of education most parents do not want their children to receive.Directed by Ben Falcone. Starring Gillian Jacobs, Adria Arjona, Melissa McCarthy. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release May 11, 2018. Updated May 15, 2018
Life of the Party
Rating & Content Info
Why is Life of the Party rated PG-13? Life of the Party is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual material, drug content and partying.
Violence: The main character gathers up her husband’s possessions, piles them on the lawn, and sets them on fire. She repeatedly kicks a vehicle door. A character accidentally discharges a firearm in his house. “Mean girls” make catty comments about the main character. One character stealthily cuts another’s hair in revenge. Masked characters enter a dorm room at night, throw a pillowcase over another person’s head and take her to another location. As part of a hazing ritual, a fully clothed character is spanked on the buttocks with a wooden paddle. Female characters have a physical altercation with slapping, pushing, and hits to the chest. Four characters get stoned and vandalize a wedding reception, throwing over tables, breaking glassware, and smashing a cake.
Sexual Content: The main character has impulsive sex with a new acquaintance. The sexual activity is implied but not seen. The same characters have sex in the library and are shown rearranging their clothing after the fact. The characters continue to have an implied sexual relationship. Another character has an implied sexual relationship with her steady boyfriend. A married couple have sex in a bathroom: no nudity is seen but their bare shoulders are visible through the window. They discuss having sex in public places. A minor character dances suggestively in tight, revealing clothing. Female characters name their genitalia. Characters disparage the sexual prowess of other characters.
Profanity: Terms of deity are used frequently throughout the movie by multiple characters. Mild and moderate profanities are also used. The main character makes multiple references to breasts and female sexual anatomy.
Alcohol / Drug Use: The main character and other characters inadvertently consume large amounts of a dessert made with marijuana and commit vandalism while stoned. A character plays racquetball while drunk and holding a bottle of alcohol. A character wears a sweatshirt with a pro-alcohol message on it. Many characters talk about and consume alcohol for stress. There is frequent, heavy drinking in social situations. Characters encourage each other to get drunk.
Page last updated May 15, 2018
More parents' guide for Life of the Party after the break...
Life of the Party Parents' Guide
Much of the activity in this movie takes place in sorority or fraternity houses. Sororities and fraternities have been seen as a home away from home and a way for university students to build friendships and networks. Lately, they have come under attack for elitism and for fostering environments that encourage excessive alcohol consumption and sexual assault. What do you think about “Greek” life on campus? Do you think fraternities and sororities are beneficial? Or do you think they should be banned or restricted? Debate on frats. Negative aspects of fraternities. Sexual assault by frat brothers.
The social activities in Life of the Party feature alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is a significant problem on university campuses worldwide. Why do you think alcohol consumption is an issue for students? What do you think can be done to reduce this problem? Do you think administrators at these institutions should get involved in dealing with this? Statistics about university students and alcohol consumption. University students and alcohol consumption.
Deanna and her friends get stoned and vandalize a wedding after accidentally eating pot edibles. Marijuana is being legalized in a number of jurisdictions. Where do you stand on the debate over legalizing marijuana? Do you think issues relating to impaired driving are significant? Are you concerned with possible health issues related to marijuana use? Impaired driving and marijuana. Marijuana and health issues. Marijuana and other health issues. Debating the issue.