Melissa McCarthy has once again teamed with her husband Ben Falcone to write, direct and star in her latest comedy film “Life of the Party” in which she plays a divorcee who goes back to college. The complication in this plot is that she is attending the same college as her daughter. McCarthy also has another film opening this fall entitled “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” which has already been getting some Oscar buzz in Gold Derby’s forums as a possible contender for Best Actress for McCarthy. This film is a rare dramatic turn for the actress and tells the true-life story of a professional biographer who gets herself into financial and ethical trouble.
McCarthy started her career doing improvisational comedy at The Groundlings Theater in Los Angeles, which is also where she met Falcone. She then went on to a successful run on the TV series “The Gilmore Girls” for seven seasons. She followed that up with other TV shows and small movie roles but it would be a return to The Groundlings crew that would launch her into super-stardom. Her former castmates Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo wrote a female gross-out comedy called “Bridesmaids” and cast McCarthy along with other Groundlings veterans Maya Rudolph and Wendi McLendon-Covey. The film would become a surprise hit in the genre which was usually dominated by men and even earn McCarthy an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress.
McCarthy found herself in a unique position in show business as just as “Bridesmaids” made her a movie star she had also just begun a new TV sitcom called “Mike and Molly” which would bring her a 2011 Emmy for Best Comedy Actress. McCarthy won an additional Emmy in 2017 as Best Comedy Guest Actress for “Saturday Night Live.”
10. TAMMY (2014)
McCarthy and supporting actress Susan Sarandon provide a few good laughs as they play a woman with nothing quite going right for her who takes a road trip with her foul-mouthed grandmother. Again keep the expectations low and you may find some enjoyment.
9. THE NINES (2007)
This inventive science fiction film featured McCarthy before she really established herself as a major box office star. Ryan Reynolds plays multiple roles in the film one of which is a depressed television writer. McCarthy has some strong moments as his PR representative who tries to keep his spirits up.
8. IDENTITY THIEF (2013)
McCarthy uses her likability factor to actual make audiences feel some sympathy for her character. She plays a highly immoral woman who steals Jason Bateman’s identity and causes various chaos in his life by using his credit cards and even getting him arrested. In other hands it might have been hard to like this character but somehow McCarthy makes it work.
7. THIS IS 40 (2012)
You could argue that Judd Apatow showed the beginnings of the child birth experience in “Knocked Up” and the results of it in “This is 40.” Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann (Mrs. Apatow in real life) star as a couple dealing with suburbia and children. McCarthy has a small role as a combative mother who Rudd has a run in with.
6. GHOSTBUSTERS (2016)
This female reboot of the “Ghostbusters” film from 1984 generated controversy and headlines long before it even hit the screen. Some people resented that the popular 1984 film was being rewritten for a female perspective. While co-star Kate McKinnon got the best reviews of the four stars McCarthy more than holds her own in this film that somehow managed to survive all the press that could have bogged it down.
5. GO (1999)
McCarthy only has one scene in this inventive film from director Doug Liman but she made it work. The film tells interlocking stories of various twenty somethings coping with life in Los Angeles. McCarthy has one moment as the roommate of a man who is having an affair with both members of couple consisting of two gay soap opera actors. When they both knock on her door and McCarthy realizes they are on to her roommate’s affairs with both men McCarthy gets to deliver a memorably awkward comedic performance.
4. THE HEAT (2013)
McCarthy teamed with Sandra Bullock for this female buddy cop movie that gave her one of her best vehicles. She has genuine chemistry with Bullock. McCarthy plays the more laid back of the two whereas Bullock is the more tightly wound and superior acting of the cops. The two gifted comedic actresses put their own spin on this film that owes a little bit to Oscar and Felix of “The Odd Couple” and a little to “Cagney and Lacey.”
3. SPY (2015)
This film has a whopping 94 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of McCarthy’s most successful box office hits as well. She plays a mild-mannered CIA analyst who spends most of her time at a desk job. Circumstances suddenly thrust her into the field and into the action that she usually only sees from behind the safe walls of her office.
2. ST. VINCENT (2014)
McCarthy had her biggest dramatic success in this film that paired her with Bill Murray, one of her heroes. McCarthy plays a put-upon divorcee whose son befriends a cranky neighbor played by Murray.
1. BRIDESMAIDS (2011)
It is rare that a comedic performance gets an Oscar nomination and even more when an outright comedic performance featuring a great deal of bathroom humor and raunch gets one but McCarthy pulled it off. The movie was put together by a bunch of women who met as members of the Los Angeles comedy troupe “The Groundlings.” Kristen Wiig also earned an Oscar nomination for the screenplay she co-wrote for this box office and critical success.