Aging rappers Kid-n-Play take the funny hair out of mothballs one more time in this latest installment of the HOUSE PARTY series. This time out, the venerable Hudlin Brothers franchise is directed by Eric Meza, and its stars seem to be bucking for a sitcom in a big way. When last we saw the pair, in HOUSE PARTY 2, Kid was college-bound but had managed...read more
Aging rappers Kid-n-Play take the funny hair out of mothballs one more time in this latest installment of the HOUSE PARTY series. This time out, the venerable Hudlin Brothers franchise is directed by Eric Meza, and its stars seem to be bucking for a sitcom in a big way.
When last we saw the pair, in HOUSE PARTY 2, Kid was college-bound but had managed to squander his scholarship money. As HOUSE PARTY 3 opens, Kid is making plans to get married. Meanwhile, Play is trying to persuade local rap promoter Showboat (Michael Colyar), who surrounds himself with
stunning, leather-clad female Ninja bodyguards, that they can deliver a hot new all-girl group called Sex as a Weapon. But at their big powwow with the band, the numbers don't come up large, and the girls decide to go with other management, even though the boys have already taken Showboat's money.
Kid's three adorable young cousins come to visit (they double as a preteen rap band called Immature, and seem to break into their stage act every time there's a mic in the house). Next, Kid's old girlfriend Sydney (Tisha Campbell) shows up, and his fiancee Veda (Angela Means) goes on red alert.
Several humorous set-pieces follow: a discussion of the reception menu with a pair of ex-con caterers; the pursuit of an all-blind rap act in Ray Charles glasses led by MC Cataract; a dinner with Kid's future in-laws that goes way south in a hurry. But all of this is merely a warm-up for a
monumental bachelor party that Play plans to throw.
Play's big party is planned for a hotel bar, but the street-smart Immature alter the arrangements for the caterers, the guy with the stripper, et al., into a giant party at Kid's house instead. When Sydney shows up to wish Kid all the best, Veda spots them in a final clinch, and automatically
defaults from red alert to Defcon 1. But skillful sitcom maneuvering defuses the situation just in time for the party. Showboat shows up with his Ninja warriors in tow, but drops the grudge when he sees Immature perform, signing them on the spot as the next big thing. Sex as a Weapon joins in to
rock the house, and then Kid-n-Play themselves take it out over the crawl with a rap called "Make Some Noise."
Very impressive, since these guys must be--what?--in their early 50s by now? It's hard to believe that the original HOUSE PARTY (1990) was such a runaway hit with Sundance audiences just four years earlier, given a vehicle as tired as this one. In fact, the entire movie is essentially an
uncredited remake of BACHELOR PARTY, which is interesting only because Kid's frenetic mugging and general harried quality have always suggested a younger, hipper Tom Hanks, except of course that his hair is done up in a giant Gumby fade. (This outing, the fade is dreadlocked at the tips, and it
most resembles a large, fuzzy pineapple.) At their best, Kid-n-Play suggest a smarter Martin and Lewis, or a wackier Hope and Crosby. But the HOUSE PARTY series now lacks the knowingly rendered social context that elevated the first film from a black beach-party flick to a virtual allegory of
resistance in an urban police state. (Profanity.)
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