By Marc Woodfork

“Life of the Party” is the latest film starring Melissa McCarthy.  She plays a middle-aged mom whose daughter is going back to school to finish her last year, when unexpectedly and surprisingly her husband decides he wants a divorce.  This throws Melissa’s character into a tailspin and she decides she wants to re-invent her life, finish her college education, and pursue her life-long ambition of becoming an archeologist.

Perfect.  Nothing wrong with that.  The underlying message of living your best life is great.  The problem is the film doesn’t do a good job of translating that to the audience.  What we get is a mess of a story filled with innuendo and bad punchlines.  I like Melissa McCarthy.  Unfortunately,  I think she’s getting pigeonholed into a specific character mold.

She has a film coming out later this year that will allow audiences to see a different aspect of her acting abilities.

As for “Life of the Party”,  we’ve seen the story before. It’s the same fish out of water story — a person (typically older) going through a mid-life crisis of some sort.  There are moments of fun and it has its heart in the right place but the film is predictable, cliched, and lacks emotional depth.  A talent like McCarthy deserves so much more.

“Breaking In” stars Gabrielle Union as a mom who inadvertently gets herself and her two kids wrapped up in a home invasion that goes horribly wrong.  Let me first say that Gabrielle Union deserves more leading roles.  She more than deserves it, she should demand them.  She is, without a doubt, the bright shining light in a film that is average at best.

The film has a simple plot with a simple script. “Breaking In” is predictable and at times very silly and hard to get through.

The three antagonists are so incompetent, which leads the audience to not feel worried about the overall outcome.  At no point in the movie do you feel like Gabrielle and her kids are in any real danger.  It doesn’t have or build the tension as a suspense film should.  The characters never fully buy in and take the next step.  Gabrielle takes the lead, and we wait for the other actors to follow, But unfortunately, they never do.  For those seeking a simple suspense, this certainly will deliver that.