Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: We the Party

Initially promising teen comedy-drama, featuring African-American kids not in the ghetto for once, soon undermines itself in a welter of clichés and empty gloss.

April 6, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1326058-We_the_Party_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

At Baldwin Hills High School, Hendrix Sutton (Mandela Van Peebles) is a definite disappointment to his dad (Mario Van Peebles), who also teaches there. He desperately needs tutoring, which he receives from lovely classmate Cheyenne (Simone Battle), who he is dying to ask to the senior prom. He also runs with a crew who have all placed bets on—surprise!—who will lose their virginity first before that big night. Actually, Hendrix is most bent on buying a car, which he plans to do with the bucks he earns from the weekend dance parties he throws.

Do we need more movie clichés here? Okay, how about that aforementioned crew, incredulously made up of such differing types as an arrogant rich prince (Patrick Cage II), a mouthy little Italian named Quicktime (Moises Arias), skater boy Que (Ryan Vigil) and a nerd named—yes—Obama (Makaylo Van Peebles). There’s also a fat girl who discovers her inner Grace Kelly, and a menacing group of thugs who steal Hendrix’s hard-earned cash, headed by none other than Snoop Dogg (in one more role that won’t win him the approval of either Bill Cosby or Sidney Poitier). Hendrix comes from a broken home, but Mom is never too far away, as she also teaches at the same school (and looks more like a model).

Mario Van Peebles, who also wrote and directed this veritable orgy of nepotism (there are five Van Peebles alone listed in the cast), doesn’t seem to have a fresh idea in his head. Although goodhearted and spirited, We the Party is vapid in the extreme. Van Peebles’ direction often goes awry, veering nonsensically into music-video tropes like split-screens which add a further layer of unnecessary gloss to the already synthetic proceedings. It’s an MTV world away from daddy Melvin Van Peebles’ gritty, seminal 1971 Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.

The acting ranges from serviceable to inept, with no one really able to break through and exhibit anything like true charisma, despite strenuous efforts to be 2012 relevant via the presence of various techno gadgets, the senior prom theme of going green, and intensely staged rap battles. When the kids are seen busily doing their class project, which consists of searching out and interviewing some extremely bogus homeless people for their very “I feel your pain” benign liberal of a teacher, you may find yourself looking for the nearest exit sign.



Film Review: We the Party

Initially promising teen comedy-drama, featuring African-American kids not in the ghetto for once, soon undermines itself in a welter of clichés and empty gloss.

April 6, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1326058-We_the_Party_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

At Baldwin Hills High School, Hendrix Sutton (Mandela Van Peebles) is a definite disappointment to his dad (Mario Van Peebles), who also teaches there. He desperately needs tutoring, which he receives from lovely classmate Cheyenne (Simone Battle), who he is dying to ask to the senior prom. He also runs with a crew who have all placed bets on—surprise!—who will lose their virginity first before that big night. Actually, Hendrix is most bent on buying a car, which he plans to do with the bucks he earns from the weekend dance parties he throws.

Do we need more movie clichés here? Okay, how about that aforementioned crew, incredulously made up of such differing types as an arrogant rich prince (Patrick Cage II), a mouthy little Italian named Quicktime (Moises Arias), skater boy Que (Ryan Vigil) and a nerd named—yes—Obama (Makaylo Van Peebles). There’s also a fat girl who discovers her inner Grace Kelly, and a menacing group of thugs who steal Hendrix’s hard-earned cash, headed by none other than Snoop Dogg (in one more role that won’t win him the approval of either Bill Cosby or Sidney Poitier). Hendrix comes from a broken home, but Mom is never too far away, as she also teaches at the same school (and looks more like a model).

Mario Van Peebles, who also wrote and directed this veritable orgy of nepotism (there are five Van Peebles alone listed in the cast), doesn’t seem to have a fresh idea in his head. Although goodhearted and spirited, We the Party is vapid in the extreme. Van Peebles’ direction often goes awry, veering nonsensically into music-video tropes like split-screens which add a further layer of unnecessary gloss to the already synthetic proceedings. It’s an MTV world away from daddy Melvin Van Peebles’ gritty, seminal 1971 Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.

The acting ranges from serviceable to inept, with no one really able to break through and exhibit anything like true charisma, despite strenuous efforts to be 2012 relevant via the presence of various techno gadgets, the senior prom theme of going green, and intensely staged rap battles. When the kids are seen busily doing their class project, which consists of searching out and interviewing some extremely bogus homeless people for their very “I feel your pain” benign liberal of a teacher, you may find yourself looking for the nearest exit sign.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Citizenfour
Film Review: Citizenfour

Documentary account of how Edward Snowden leaked intelligence to the world press. More »

Glen Campbell I'll Be Me
Film Review: Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me

Alzheimer's is given an unforgettably human face here, and that face belongs to a music legend. More »

White Bird in a Blizzard
Film Review: White Bird in a Blizzard

A clichéd indie about a girl’s coming-of-age amidst her mother’s disappearance that, despite a sturdy lead performance by Shailene Woodley, is undone by hackneyed, go-nowhere plotting. More »

Exists
Film Review: Exists

Blair Witch Project co-director Eduardo Sanchez returns to the faux-found footage well and hauls out a bucketful of Bigfoot in this derivative but creepy shocker. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here