With characters like DJ Bootytime and DJ Hardcap, plus a terrible script and some plain old flat out lousy acting, “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” seems destined to fail. And it does just that. It doesn’t fail in an epic manner, mind you. But it does fall forward hard enough that you can hear the “thud” long before the film’s ending.
This is one of those movies where the kids rule, the parents and adults are all morons and everyone who graces the screen has little to no poise in executing their lackluster performances. Every so often, you need to endure a terrible film, and from my perspective, “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” fills that void.
It’s likely you’re familiar with the “House Party” franchise in some capacity, and if you are, you’re that much more likely to be let down by this direct to DVD installment. It’s not like we’re discussing a really great film series that is being brought down my crummy sequel after crummy sequel. But we are talking about a series where the first film did its thing surprisingly well, and the latest film is a tarring and feathering of all things “House Party.”
The little bit of plot that “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” brings to bear is so overdone that you’ll quickly realize you’ve been here before. A good student ready to graduate from high school, Chris (Tequan Richmond), gets left in charge when his parents have to leave for the weekend unexpectedly. His best pal Dylan (Zac Goodspeed) seizes the opportunity to throw a major party so he and Chris can show off their rapping skills to a music executive that’s in town. Chris also thinks this can be a method for getting into the school’s designated sexy girl’s pants, but Autumn (Tristin Mays) is of course dating a pretty boy jock that Chris will have to fend off first.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Family Matters,” chances are you’ve seen several elements used during “House Party: Tonight’s the Night.” It also plays on “Home Alone” to some extent, as the adults are sort of depicted as idiots who lack the ability to behave as adults and instead stoop to a level much lower. The film is rated R for sexual content, crude humor, language, drug and alcohol use all involving teens. Basically, it’s like stepping into a 21st century high school, except far more annoying.
From my perspective, movies like “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” are among the many reasons the United States is not all that well liked in certain parts of the world. People watch this trash and deem it a representation of our collective culture. I’m embarrassed for all that “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” brings forward and presents on the silver screen, but not because it’s a terrible movie. I’m unhappy because it’s only lifting the lid on a culture that carries itself out and about in our country every single day.
I can’t think of a single reason you would or should see “House Party: Tonight’s the Night.” Even in bad films there are moments of brightness, but here, it’s all pretty much lousy. From the overacting to the silly dialogue to the bizarre neighbor across the street who is far more bizarre than she is cute, this is a train wreck of biblical proportions.
Oh, before I forget, original house partyers Kid ‘n Play have a cameo. For their sake, thank goodness it’s short, sweet and to the point.
We’re instructed to make our Movie Metropolis reviews longer than this writing on “House Party: Tonight’s the Night,” but there isn’t really much else to say. High schoolers misbehave, bicker, abuse substances, get a little too sexy with each other and listen to awful music. By the time the 95 minute run time is finished, you’ll be ready to step back to reality and all its problems. And you know any film that makes you want to leave it behind that badly can’t possibly be good.
The standard definition 1.78:1 video transfer is fine. Its bright coloration uses natural light pretty well, especially as the characters are coming and going in their California setting. Far from HD quality, there is occasional grain to be had, but to be honest, the film as a whole is so awful that you can’t really lean on the visuals too much. It looked as though the females in “House Party: Tonight’s the Night” got the better end of the deal, however. Their camera shots are sharper and more vivid. I wonder why…
The film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 English surround sound audio track is also fine, meaning you won’t struggle to hear the insults, rapping, sorry excuses for music or bad dialogue. The surround sound is not really relevant, but it’s a nice to know it’s there. Natural background noise is only evident if you’re talking about a car’s engine or bass, otherwise you can (and should) forget about it. I wouldn’t hang my hat on the audio here (but then again, well, you get where I’m going). Available subtitles include English, French and Spanish.
A few deleted scenes are available, plus a featurette titled “House Party 5: Keepin’ it Old School,” where Kid ‘n Play sit with the cast and crew from the most recent film and talk about the change over time related to hip hop and rap in the context of the film franchise. Nothing spectacular, but coming from a film of this nature, should we have expected anything else?
A Final Word:
Avoid “House Party: Tonight’s the Night.” Tonight, and no night after tonight, will ever be the night when you should subject yourself to this title. Take it from me and turn the other cheek.