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New Line Home Cinema presents
House Party 2 (1991)

"What I want to know is, do you have the gift that I think you have, or am I just beingcharmed by your line of bulls---?"
- Professor Sinclair (George Standford Brown)

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: June 28, 2000

Stars: Kid 'N Play (Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin), Tisha Campbell, Iman
Other Stars: Full Force, Queen Latifah, Georg Stanford Brown
Director: George Jackson and Doug McHenry

MPAA Rating: R for Language and sensuality
Run Time: 01h:34m:00s
Release Date: June 13, 2000
UPC: 794043485527
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C D+A-B- C-

DVD Review

House Party 2 is a direct continuation of the original House Party movie. For those of you unfamiliar with the world of House Party, allow me to quickly recap the first film. In the original, Kid 'N' Play (hip-hop stars who have even had their own cartoon) had a really wild house party, got in all sorts of nasty predicaments, learned important lessons, and lived happily ever after. Now, in the sequel, Kid has acquired enough money to go to college with his girlfriend, Sidney. At the same time, Play is frustrated because Kid's college-bound life leaves their record contract up in the air. In an attempt to get his musical career off the ground, Play gives all of Kid's scholarship money to a shadowy producer (Iman). The producer turns out to be a fraud, leaving Kid and Play, in a word, screwed. As you might expect, eventually there's a house party.

As I suspected, the sequel is really just a copy of the first film. Kid 'N Play get into more trouble, and have to figure their way out of it. Along the way, they learn "life lessons" and we're all supposed to see the positive messages. A few of the characters from the previous film make annoyingly unwelcome reappearances, like 'Zilla, Pee-Wee and Stab. Martin Lawrence returns as Bilal, and numerous other in-joke references to the first movie are present. All of this pretty much adds up to a movie desperately trying to re-create the success and hilarity of the first film. I personally never really liked the original, but at least I could see how some people might find it really funny and sitting through it wasn't a chore. House Party 2, though, seems like an uncreative, sluggish, milking of a very thin joke that was already told in the first film. Most of the humor here is fairly obvious and sophomoric, with little refinement. Some moments in the film fell with such dead flatness, I almost felt uncomfortable.

The film tries to insert serious messages, but they're incredibly condescending. For example, a completely out of place scene puts Kid in a black history class where he's chided for not knowing a certain detail about Malcolm X. I assume this was directed towards people who got into Malcolm X in the early 90's without knowing much about him, but this is certainly the least sophisticated way to say that. There's also a big pro-education/pro-black theme, but this again is wrapped up in an extremely obvious package. Another minor point that bothered me was the fact this film could have easily gotten a PG or PG-13 rating had it not been for the ridiculous amount of bad language. Wouldn't this have expanded the target audience without compromising the movie? Eventually, towards the end, the movie totally runs out of any steam, and degenerates into sad sex jokes and excuses to have hit rap acts perform.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: House Party 2 is a dual layer disc with a widescreen and full-screen version of the film available. Both versions are extremely good looking, with good color balance, sharpness, and lack edge enhancement. Black level is solid and crisp. The film uses a very dark, muted cinematography so it's rare to see really vibrant colors, but when they do appear there is no bleeding. The full frame has a few moments where compression artifacts are slightly visible, but only if you're looking for them. The 1:85:1 widescreen image adds a slight bit of picture to the sides of the screen, so technically, I'd have to recommend the widescreen version. Also, the aliasing distortion from the 16:9 enhancement is extremely minimal.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: While examining the audio, I honestly found little difference between the 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds a little crisper, with wider frequency response, but there's hardly any precise imaging and the surrounds aren't really used for a much except the background music. Dialogue is sometimes a little too quiet from the center channel, but it's nothing major. The same goes for the 2.0, which uses Pro Logic rear information for the surrounds that sounds very much like the 5.1 version. The small amount of difference between the two basically means people with lower-end setups might just want to use the 2.0 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring House Party, House Party 3
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The disc contains very little in the extras department.

There are thin cast and crew bios, and the original trailer for House Party. In the bios for some of the actors, there are trailers for the other House Party movies. The presentation of the disc is a little on the weak side, especially with the cold, static menus.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

House Party 2 seems like a definite product of its time. Much like the John Hughes, teen-epics of the 80's, this movie was made for the huge hip-hop/rap explosion of the early 90's. Maybe at the time it seemed incredibly subversive, but now it's just dumb. I don't expect every comedy I watch to be a masterpiece, but there are times when I think a little careful crafting can go a long way. I think the audiences agree with me for the most part, because each succeeding House Party movie did worse than the one before, and now Kid 'N Play are has-beens. They were part of a flashy, fad-based hype that just got old.

 


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