Crude and cartoony but hypnotic in its infectious energy, this low-budget comedy about a night in the lives of some black teenagers is an auspicious debut from brothers Reginald (directing) and Warrington (producing) Hudlin.
Kid (Christopher Reid) is dying to go to a party hosted by his buddy Play (Christopher Martin). Unfortunately, Kid has gotten into some trouble with the local bullies at school and, after a note from the principal's office arrives at home, he's grounded by his strict father (the late, great Robin
Harris). Determined to go to Play's party, especially since two of the prettiest girls in school are going to be there, Kid risks life and limb to sneak out of the house while Pop dozes in front of the television. He makes it to the party and gets to know the girls, one of whom has a crush on him,
while dancing up a storm. The evening, however, is not without its complications....
Deceptively simple on the surface, HOUSE PARTY is a realistic depiction of teenager life. Though its main purpose is obviously to provoke laughter, it also provokes thought by dealing honestly with a variety of subjects, including safe sex, teen drinking, class prejudice, and, in a roundabout way,
racism. Rap stars Kid N Play make a strong film debut, creating a fun, light image for themselves without sacrificing the edge of their music; their rap-duel scene is fast and funky. Kid, with his foot-high fade haircut (one character refers to him as "Eraserhead") and freckle-faced grin,
handles the duties of "leading man" extremely well, giving a supremely likable performance.
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