Life of the Party is little known movie which was released in 2005 where it has since gone mostly unnoticed. I know the first time I’d heard of it was just a few days ago where I first saw it in my hands. It didn’t look half bad, a few cast members were recognizable, and as the movie actually went on I saw quite a few familiar supporting faces.
Michael Elgin (Eion Bailey, Band of Brothers) is a functioning alcoholic with a close-knit group of friends and a loving wife Phoebe (Ellen Pompeo, Old Scho…l, Grey’s Anatomy). But he starts putting strain on all these relationships as a result of his excessive drinking, most affected is his wife who asks for a separation. We soon learn that his work life is suffering as well; he has no goals or motivation to continue on everyday, which is where the bottle comes in. As he continually puts strain on these relationships, topped off with the fact that after a night of drinking and adultery he crashes his best friends dream car, everyone who cares about him comes together and plans an intervention.
When they all get together to confront him, the psychiatrist (Larry Miller, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Nutty Professor) doesn’t show up, and all hell breaks loose. His mother doesn’t seem to think he has a problem, his father is embarrassed with his condition, one of his friends is in love with his wife. Another friend just wants everyone to get along, yet another friend thinks this whole idea is stupid, and on top of it all his mistress was invited as well. Things get out of control, tempers flair and everything starts coming out, and ultimately Michael has a big decision to make between the bottle and everyone who cares deeply for him.
Life of the Party isn’t what I expected; instead it was quite dramatic with the odd humorous moment. Initially thinking this was a comedy, boy was I surprised, but it’s all the same because I enjoyed it regardless. Typically this isn’t what I look for in a movie but it provides a powerful message and showcases the affects of alcoholism even in a seemingly normal life. Although I say I enjoyed this movie it wasn’t anything spectacular that I will watch anytime again, but I really don’t have much bad to say about it other then the fact that it could have used a few more laughs to lighten things up.
So in the end, this was a good movie, but it fell quite a ways short of being great. Surely, a good twist on the whole intervention genre, but not quite a movie that keeps its appeal after watching it once. If you’re in the dramatic mood and want to watch a movie that gives some insight on aging, life, and alcohols role in blurring these sensitive subjects check this one out, but I definitely advise renting it first.
Life of the Party is presented in 1.78:1, and looks surprisingly good for a low budget film. Although it never looks spectacular some noticeably good-looking things are the realistic colors and the lack of compression artifacts even in the low lighting situations. On the other hand there were a few complaints namely the softness, which is at times pretty extreme, overall a pretty decent looking transfer with a few setbacks.
What can you expect from a low budget dialogue driven Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track? Not much, and that’s what you get. There are rare moments where you will utilize you’re rear channels (i.e. the classic music the main character loves to listen to), but for the most part it is extremely front heavy. Because the movie is so front heavy the track is consistently flat, it is completely dialogue, nothing more then that, and never therefore never utilizes you’re surround sounds full capabilities.
Not all that much in the features department, but a pretty good addition to this release.
- Audio Commentary – A decent commentary with Writer/Director Barra Grant reflecting on the writing aspects of this movie as well as the directorial responsibilities.
- Drunken not Stirred: The Making of Life of the Party – An insightful look into the making of this picture, a female screenwriter and her battle to capture the realism of male relationships.
- Trailer Gallery
A pretty solid movie that was entertaining the first time through, but hardly offers any replay value. With a lackluster quantity of special features, they are however pretty interesting and are great for fans of the movie. In the end of things if you want to see this movie you should rent it first, because like I previously mentioned several times I don’t see it was a movie you could watch over and over again.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Drunken not Stirred: The Making of Life of the Party
- Trailer Gallery