Melissa McCarthy goes back to school in Life of the Party first look

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A version of this story appears in the First Look issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday. For more exclusive interviews and First Look photos only in EW, buy it here or subscribe now.

Melissa McCarthy is hitting the books again.

After busting ghosts and showing off her spy skills, the Oscar-nominated comedian reteams with her writing partner and husband, Ben Falcone (The Boss), for Life of the Party. McCarthy stars as a fortysomething mom named Deanna, who, after a surprise divorce from her husband (Matt Walsh), decides to go back to college — specifically to the university her daughter (Molly Gordon) attends.

“I really like the idea of showing somebody challenging herself and reinventing herself at my age,” McCarthy says. “Because why not?!”

The result is a PG-13 fish-out-of-water comedy — or, as McCarthy puts it, a comedy where “the fish has not been in that water for a long time.”

Not only does Life of the Party reunite McCarthy with her Bridesmaids costar Maya Rudolph, who plays Deanna’s best friend, but it was also a welcome return to campus for McCarthy herself, who attended Southern Illinois University but never graduated.

“I do always talk about it, like, maybe I’ll go back!” she says. “Maybe when I’m, like, 92. I’ll just roll into class and confuse everyone, like, ‘Is the professor’s mother?'” Who wouldn’t want to sit in on that class?

Life of the Party will hit theaters May 11. Gillian Jacobs, Julie Bowen, Stephen Root, Jackie Weaver, Jessie Ennis, Adria Arjona, Debby Ryan, and Jimmy O. Yang also star.

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