- Movie Rating -

House Party (2023)

| January 9, 2023

It’s a new year – 2023.  The holiday season has ended, the parties are over, and the guests have all gone home.  The bad news is that the new remake of the 90s sleeper hit House Party is not going to keep the party going.  This is one of those movies that defines an empty-house January release.

Produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter and directed by music video director known only as Calmatic, the team wisely steers clear of a mimicky remake of the 1990 film (which I liked) and tries to modernize it.  Great!  I’m on board!  The problem is that this new movie is so slow to get started and then so low-flying when it does get started that when the party gets bumping, we spend most of our time in the next room listening to the main characters discuss the plot!

The movie stars Jacob Latimore and Tosin Cole as Kevin and Damon, two L.A. guys struggling to make ends meet.  Jacob is the more level-headed of the pair especially since he has a daughter who is a toddler that he wants to put into a good pre-school and needs money fast.  He and Damon work for a service that cleans rich people’s houses and, on their latest job, they get the news that this will be their last assignment – a security video just arrived at the office that features the two of them getting high while cleaning their last house.

What to do?  Well, while snooping around the mansion, Damon discovers that this house belongs to the GOAT himself – LeBron James.  Idea.  Since James is away in India and they are badly in need of cash, why not have a carefully controlled house party in LeBron’s mansion and charge admission on the door.

That is the launchpad for a good movie, unfortunately this house party never seems to get going.  We spend much of the time watching Kevin and Damon’s plan get only slightly out of control (centered on the theft of LeBron’s championship ring) while we wait for a great party to get going.  There are some fun dance sequences, but they’re way too short – there’s nothing fun, no celebration, not enough dancing.  I waited in vain for something special to kick off, something along the lines of the “Lover’s Rock” segment of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe – watch that instead.

Most of the movie is spent dealing with petty problems, about the deteriorating friendship between Kevin and Damon, about the danger of the party going overboard, about this and that and the other, and not enough time getting down with the music and having fun.  I wasn’t laughing.  In fact I hardly laughed at all.

One short scene that I did like was a trip to a party thrown by the Illuminati where the duo are promised the return of LeBron’s championship ring.  That scene is so weird and so funny that you almost wish the rest of the movie had that kind of energy.  Among the missed opportunities: the host of the Illuminati party promises a psychedelic rap by Dolly Parton.  Too bad the movie doesn’t show us that!

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(2023) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy