LIFE OF THE PARTY: As if we needed further proof of Hollywood’s lack of creativity and originality, we now have the unwelcome trend of remaking ‘80s comedies with gender role reversal. In the wake of the run aground OVERBOARD comes a similar flip of the Rodney Dangerfield film BACK TO SCHOOL (1986) with Melissa McCarthy (BRIDESMAIDS) headed back to campus as a newly divorced mom sharing academic and sorority life with her daughter (Molly Gordon) who isn’t sure what to make of it all. After fifteen minutes of watching this dud, I wasn’t either and could only surmise that the portly actress learned nothing from the painful lesson of GHOSTBUSTERS (2016). There’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy and at times, the screenplay from McCarthy and real-life husband/director Ben Falcone doesn’t seem to fathom which side of the line they want to stand on. There are moments when we’re asked to laugh at a person while their life is falling apart which feels like we’re snickering at a guy who’s slipped on a banana peel and is still lying unconscious on the ground. Similar cringe-inducing sequences include an oral examination where fright-related sweat is attempted to be exploited for yucks a la Albert Brooks in BROADCAST NEWS (1987) as well as a wedding reception being trashed by a bitter woman scorned with the aid of her sorority “sisters” who’ve come to see her as a sort of mentor/role model (Really? Seriously?). A similarly uncomfortable storyline involves middle-aged McCarthy hooking up with a “hunky” frat boy (Luke Benward) who has an awkward familial connection. The funniest moments come when McCarthy is able to play her comedic skills off of some genuinely humorous characters like the co-ed (Gillian Jacobs) with a terminally undecided major who returns to school after eight years in a coma as well as her goth, agoraphobic roommate (Heidi Gardner) or her wise-cracking best friend (Maya Rudolph) who likes to drink during a game of racquetball. But there’s a plausibility problem all throughout the work that puts a lid on the comedic potential this movie could have had. As comedically (And dramatically, I believe.) accomplished as McCarthy is , this is decidedly one of her lesser efforts that fails to make the grade. Speaking of which…CRITIC’S GRADE: C-