Melissa McCarthy has spent the past few years of her movie career urging audiences to like her, to laugh along with her willing, do-anything antics, sometimes showing the sad side to a sweet character. In Can You Ever Forgive Me, she flips the script, leading with the caustic, brusque and deceitful and keeping the sensitive buried deep. It’s a somewhat slow, but engaging true story about a woman running out of options who finds a unique yet dishonest and illegal way to develop her craft.
Much like the equally frustrating I Feel Pretty, Life of the Party is built around a strong central performance, capable ensemble, and interesting enough premise, but fails to deliver more than an SNL sketch’s worth of story in nearly two hours of tedium. Melissa McCarthy, a fine actress when she wants to be (and a co-writer here it should be noted), plays Deanna, a mom blindsided by her husband’s request for a divorce who decides to go back to college with her daughter and finally get her degree. Hilarity, one would think, would ensue, but it’s more like a couple laughs and a lot of eye rolls.