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‘House Party 3’

By David Mills
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 12, 1994

 


Director:
Eric Meza
Cast:
Christopher Reid;
Christohper Martin;
Bernie Mac;
Angela Means;
Khandi Alexander
R
raunchiness and rough language


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"House Party," Reginald Hudlin's 1990 original, was an unusual kind of movie -- an African American youth comedy with a down-home funky sensibility and yet an overarching humanity and intelligence. It was one of a handful of features since the emergence of Spike Lee to generate big hopes about a black commercial film movement in this decade. "House Party 3," the second sequel done without Hudlin's input, has made a smoldering wreck of the man's premise -- and the original movie's promise.

Thoroughly idiotic, offensive to all higher aspects of human consciousness, and rarely funny, "House Party 3" brings rappers Kid 'N Play back to the screen as buddies who just loooove to party, but who can't seem to keep out of trouble with various hustlers, nutty relatives, sexy ladies and authority figures. The pretext for "3" is a bachelor party for Kid (Christopher Reid), who's about to get married so as to provide a pretext for the pretext.

As in the earlier films, Play (Christopher Martin) proves to be the much better actor of the pair, with a truly charming comic persona. He does all that can be expected with his role as a fledgling music industry wheeler-dealer whose mouth gets his heinie into a jam with some tough guys.

But instead of placing Kid 'N Play into a story that would necessitate taking them seriously as living characters -- as "House Party" and "House Party 2" managed to do -- screenwriter Takashi Bufford and director Eric Meza pile on such gross farcical elements as a senile aunt enjoying hard-core pornography, crazed women stuffing money into a male stripper's G-string, a young man lusting after obese women, preteen knuckleheads sexually harassing schoolgirls, the spreading of toe jam on crackers. Oh, the high jinks just never let up.

The first "House Party" provided some of our earliest exposure to Robin Harris and Martin Lawrence, men of immense comedic talent. But in this day when blacks are fully represented in the woeful glut of overexposed American standup comics, "House Party 3" tries to stack the deck with jokers (Bernie Mac, Michael Colyar, David Edwards, Joe Torry), which only makes the whole affair more of a noisy mess.

It's too bad that the late Robin Harris is invoked here in a framed black-and-white photo. Because "House Party 3" is capable of embarrassing the dead.

"House Party 3" is rated R for raunchiness and rough language.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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