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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Party Girl (1995)

Judy: Where are you going?
Mary: I don't know.

- Sasha Von Scherler, Parker Posey

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: August 04, 2003

Stars: Parker Posey, Anthony DeSando, Gullermo Diaz, Donna Mitchell
Other Stars: Liev Schrieber, Omar Townsend, Sasha Von Scherler
Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer

Manufacturer: DVSS
MPAA Rating: R for strong language, drug use, partial nudity; sexual situations
Run Time: 1h:34m:03s
Release Date: July 08, 2003
UPC: 043396100640
Genre: comedy


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

DVD Review

It isn't very often that you can watch a movie and think, "there's a star waiting to happen." Well, that's precisely the reaction I had to Parker Posey in Dazed And Confused, a film that's full of actors that fit snugly into "we knew 'em when" territory including Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and a blink and you'll miss her Renee Zellweger. Although Posey's scenes as haze-happy sorority girl Darla Marks totaled no more than 10 minutes, they ranked among the most memorable. So, how gratifying it's been for those of us who "discovered" her to watch the Baltimore-born actress gain a reputation as one of cinema's most dependable, fascinating performers with a shrewd mixture of occasional high profile parts (You've Got Mail, Scream 3, A Mighty Wind) and independent gems (Clockwatchers, SubUrbia)?

Party Girl is perhaps the best known of Parker's early roles and the one that single handedly thrust the crown of art-house queen upon her head. Although the 1995 turn is minor compared to later roles, her raw, sexy, and bitingly funny performance proved that her Dazed turn was no fluke.

Posey plays Mary, a 23 year-old New York City lass in need of direction (and a job, as her cover charge parties to pay the rent just aren't cutting it with the cops). Booked into a local jail, she calls upon her librarian godmother Judy (Sasha von Scherler) for bail. Most folks would let their pride stop them from asking for anything more after such an ordeal, but not our party girl. After asking for more cash, Mary is all but shamed by Judy into taking a job as a library clerk at the branch she oversees. While attempting to master the Dewey Decimal System and properly deal with patrons (Judy can only look on with horror as her goddaughter mistakes a request for The Origin Of Species for "Oranges and Peaches"), Mary finds time for a little romance with the immigrant Mustafa (Omar Townsend), a falafel street vendor who wants to resume the teaching career that he left behind in the old country.

Inspired by his plight and done in by one insult too many from Judy, Mary takes a crash course in library organization, perhaps a little too vigorously, as she carries her work home and reorganizes DJ roommate Leo's (Gullermo Diaz) record collection, much to his (temporary) dismay. Mary's confidence is short lived, however, after a steamy after-hours rendezvous with Mustafa in the library. Distracted by passion, she mistakenly leaves a window open and a drenching rainstorm leaves its permanent mark on some rare first edition books. Dismissed by an angry Judy, Mary's life spirals back into aimlessness, jeopardizing a promising romance, which leaves us wondering if she's got enough savvy to pick herself up.

Though filled with great set pieces and laugh out loud lines, Party Girl left me feeling not unlike I'd met a good friend's much talked about high school bud who turned out to be merely ordinary. Despite Daisy Von Scherler Mayer's peppy direction and a strong supporting cast, Harry Birckmeyer and Sheila Gaffney's screenplay is as adrift as its heroine. And yet, Posey's wacky appeal guides the movie through its rough spots.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: While I don't condone Columbia's decision to present the film in full screen, it's nowhere nearly as bad as feared. No picture information appears to be missing from the sides, so other than slight grain and skin tones occasionally exhibiting a pinkish look, no complaints. Still, the better-than-expected elements make me wonder just how much more sleek the results could have been had the studio shown this Girl the love (anamorphically speaking, that is).

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Given it's low budget, I didn't expect much from Party Girl in terms of sound. Although this is a talky film with a typically center-heavy mix, when party/club scenes kick in with their hip-hop/rave accompaniment, they wake the rest of your hardware from its slumber. Surprisingly powerful rear ambience and an impressive low end are worth noting.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Glory Daze, The Opposite of Sex, Stealing Harvard, The Sweetest Thing
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Seeing as it's one of the 1990s most talked about indies, you would think Columbia would have least tried to coax director Mayer and star Posey into contributing a commentary. On labors of love like this (check out the thank you list in the credits for proof), there had to be at least a hundred tales to be told, but I guess we'll have to let the rights revert back to the filmmakers before we'll hear them.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Though her work here pales in comparison that done in recent years, Party Girl is still worth a rental to see what made the indie-crowd wild over Parker Posey. Although fans are justified in their critiques of Columbia's non-anamorphic treatment, the finished product is more than acceptable considering the circumstances.

 


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