House Party 3

(Eric Meza, USA, 1994)


Although there are film reviewers who assume an astonishing familiarity with the area of current Afro-American cinema from merely seeing the occasional cinema release from Spike Lee or John Singleton, this field is actually quite extensive. Video shops carry many previously unseen gems and curiosities of the New Black Cinema, and paramount among them is the wonderful House Party series.

The first House Party (1990) was a highly spirited variation on the teen movie formula of Risky Business (1983), introducing Kid and Play as two rappers anxious to party on in merry defiance of family, authority and common decency. House Party 2 (1991) chronicling the college years of Kid and Play, is the definitive comedy about political correctness on campus, a heady mix of feminism, civil rights and hip hop.

Beyond their content, both films have a liberated, cartoonish style, reviving the best aspects of John Hughes’ groundbreaking teen movies such as Sixteen Candles (1984). Such panache, however, is sadly lacking from House Party 3.

Relying on frantic dialogue and exhibitionistic character turns, this instalment drops any political angle and goes for a simple ‘end of bachelorhood’ adventure centred on Kid’s impending marriage to Veda (Angela Means). The jokes are often lame, but the songs, particularly the finale “Make Noise” performed with the girl-group TLC, are as terrific as ever.

© Adrian Martin September 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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