House Party is and was a cultural zeitgeist of a phenomenon. Everyone associated with it become massive stars – Kid ‘N Play, A.J. Johnson, Tisha Campbell, Martin Lawrence, Full Force, Bernie Mac, and the list goes on. Those iconic moments seared into our brains like the dance battle, Bilal’s breath, the friendly rivalry/friendship between Sidney and Sharane, not to mention the beginnings of two budding filmmakers Warrington and Reginald Hudlin.
Now, we are revamping and revisiting a different kind of House Party in 2023 set up for a whole new generation whose lives revolve around social media influencers, rave parties, TikTok and live streams.
So what happens when aspiring club promoters and best buddies Damon (Tosin Cole) and Kevin (Jacob Lattimore), who are barely keeping things together, out of money, and are about to lose the roofs over their heads? They need a huge windfall and decide to host the house party of the year at an exclusive mansion, which just happens to belong to none other than NBA superstar LeBron James.
Sounds like a great premise right? On some levels it is pure genius, but the issue for me is that on many levels it just doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Directed by Calmatic whose work is fire when it comes to music videos, seems to have major lighting issues throughout the film among other things.
LeBron James is reaching back into the archives (just like he did with Space Jam) and once again it falls just a tad bit short. Holding out hope that the dance battle, which was a huge highlight of the original, would bring redemption – alas it also was a little lackluster.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with the cast. The stand out for me was D.C. Young Fly (Vic) who brought that manic energy we loved from Martin Lawrence to life freshly and with fervor. I’ll also note, that this generation will see and hear many nods to the hip hop culture of today and my generation will definitely notice some nods to the original. Not to mention that basketball challenge is comical unto itself.
Take a chance and check it out though. A little laughter never hurt nobody!!!