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New Line Home Cinema presents
House Party (1990)

"Hey ladies, I know y'all gonna be in attendance at the super-def, throw-down jizzam of the year."
- Play (Christopher Martin)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: September 28, 2000

Stars: Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin
Other Stars: Robin Harris
Director: Reginald Hudlin

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and strong language
Run Time: 01h:43m:07s
Release Date: June 06, 2000
UPC: 794043485428
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

House Party tells the gripping tale of a young man named Kid, and his quest for a, umm - well, a house party. So who said the story had to be complex? Kid (Christopher Reid) and his friend Play (Christopher Martin) are best friends who like the same two ladies. In order to get dates (and just have fun), Play decides to throw a massive get together at his house. The only problem is, it's a school night and Kid has been grounded by his Pop (Robin Harris, in his last role) for getting in a fight with a gang at school (played by rappers Full Force). It's up to Kid to try to get to the party, get the girl, and get home in one piece.

House Party was a modest hit when it was released, spawning two sequels and a TV show. It isn't hard to see why. While the story isn't very deep and the jokes aren't particularly funny, there is simply something about the film that makes it instantly likeable. Perhaps it is the even direction by writer/director Reginald Hudlin—he keeps things moving along briskly. The movie runs about 100 minutes but feels more like an hour. Jokes aren't overplayed (a problem I believe killed the similarly themed Next Friday, the sequel to the popular Friday) and the characters are allowed some room to breath outside of their existence as punchline-fodder.

Or perhaps it is the bevy of likeable performances from a group of relatively unknown actors. Kid and Play were rappers prior to the release of this film, and they come off surprisingly well. Kid gives an especially charismatic performance. He isn't a good actor per se, but he plays the part well and is very likeable. The film also features supporting performances by a not-yet-famous Martin Lawrence as the DJ Bilal and John Witherspoon, who went on to play Mr. Jones in the aforementioned Next Friday. There aren't any big names here, but there are some really fun actors.

It is surprising how well this film has aged, especially considering how dated some of the outfits and slang have become. It was nice to see an urban comedy that didn't focus on drugs, sex, and violence. House Party comes from a time when HipHop was fun (not angry and explicit), and it is all the better for it.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: The image transfer here is excellent (but then, it is New Line we're talking about). The bright color palette is presented very well, with vivid colors and no bleeding or smearing evident. Black level is excellent and flesh tones are accurate. Another good New Line transfer overall.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Once again, this is a comedy, so the mix is mostly in the front (how many times have I said THAT?). Dialogue is anchored in the center and is clear and natural. The score and some songs used the surround channels pretty well, but that's about it. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping the LFE would be used on some of the rap songs. Still, a good overall effort.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 22 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring House Party 2, House Party 3
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single
Layers Switch: Unknown

Extras Review: Extras are very light here. Just the theatrical trailers for all three House Party films are offered (but they ARE in anamorphic widescreen according to my DVD-ROM), as well as filmogrophies for Christophers Reid and Martin, and Robin Harris. Oh well, the disc has it where it counts—picture and audio quality.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

I can't say I got too many belly laughs out of it, but House Party is a lot of fun nonetheless. The humor is good-natured and reasonable clean, which is nice considering the gross-out humor that has become all the rage these days. I was reminded of a sort of an African-American Ferris Bueller, and I love Ferris Bueller!


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