House Party: Tonight’s The Night (DVD Review)

House-Party-Tonights-The-NightAny franchise can be resurrected nowadays.  In 1990, New Line Cinema released House Party which wound up being a surprise hit that spawned now 4 sequels.  These films were party comedies, focusing on a thin main plot with the main characters while having multiple goofy side characters with little arcs as well.  You’ve seen this type of film aped before and maybe it was House Party that brought it to the forefront.  The first 2 sequels were hits as well and meant to be a finished trilogy.  In 2000, a direct-to-video sequel brought back the franchise for a one off.  Now, Warner’s Premiere label has decided to reboot this franchise for the modern generation.

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Chris and Dylan are getting ready to graduate high school.  Together they are a rap duo hoping to one day make it big.  Their big break is possibly coming in the form of a record label exec visiting town.  They have a friend with the inside track to this guy, but they’ll need a venue and a crowd to show off their skills.  Once Chris’s parents are whisked away to a surprise funeral, a light bulb clicks in Dylan’s head.  They are going to throw one big party at Chris’s house, invite the exec and perform live in front of everyone.  It sounds simpler than it is, because many zany characters and rowdy high schoolers will make this night a challenge for Chris to keep his house in one piece.

I have never seen any of the House Party movies.  I’m not sure this is a good entry point.  House Party: Tonight’s The Night is one of those overdone, over thought and mostly unfunny comedies that proves tiresome.  Every shot of the movie has to find some joke in it no matter how lousy or cheap.  All the characters are overly whacky to the point where it feels like people trying to be overly whacky and not natural.  I found it hilarious that the main girl’s best friend is a white girl trying to be ghetto, looks about 10 years too old for the part and comes off almost mentally disabled in her performance.

The film has minimal stakes overall and regular high school move stakes in general.  Maybe it’s my age, but I wasn’t caring either way.  I’m not big into hip hop music at all so that wasn’t grabbing me and then the film tried to be a Step Up movie at certain points.  The film feels extremely long at 95 minutes.  It’s not offensively bad, it just has no purpose and isn’t very entertaining for the right reasons for the most part.  The whole production feels amateur and like they just let everyone play around too much and didn’t focus.  There’s some things in the film that are so ridiculous that you just have to see them to believe them, but none of it is worth sitting through this movie for.  Those few moments when I was amazed at something bad or laughing for the wrong reasons is why it got a 1.5, in case you were wondering.

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The laughs are brought to you in a MPEG-2 encode.  The 1.85:1 picture is good for a DVD.  There’s some solid detail on objects present.  It’s a clean image and when it’s still or slow moving its sharp.  The colors look pretty solid and make themselves present.  Overall if you’re watching on a good TV it’s not going to look cruddy or anything.  It looks good for a DVD.

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The Dolby Digital 5.1 track gets the party bumping.  It’s a very loud and bass heavy track as it should be.  While the music is loud and consuming (to be expected) it never dominates any focus of the film.  The dialog is nice and completely clear.  It doesn’t sound forced or ADR’d to be louder than the music either.  It feels very natural.  The only complaint is that they didn’t play enough with the rear speakers.  Its primarily front heavy.  There could have been more use made to feel like I was at the party while in my living room instead of watching it from the door of the house.

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The extras are presented with MPEG-2 video encode and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.  The video quality is like that of the film and the audio is sufficient.

  • House Party 5: Keepin’ It Old School (17:26) – This featurette features the cast, crew and Kid n’ Play discussing the making of this film, the original films and the cultural impact the original series had.
  • Deleted Scenes (4:14) – Some removed scenes from the film that don’t really add anything aside from one gag with the “Black Jesus” painting.

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House Party: Tonight’s The Night could have gone without the House Party label and nobody would have blinked an eye.  The film is overwrought with unfunny jokes and people trying their best to be over the top ridiculous.  The film really isn’t even “so bad its good” as much as it has some moments that must be seen to be believed.  I mean, the character of Dylan almost feels like the hip hop version of Evil Ed.  It’s hard to recommend this to anyone.  But if you’re curious, it’s given a good DVD presentation with some extras that should provide enough for your curiosity.



Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “House Party: Tonight’s The Night (DVD Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Check out the first House Party, it’s a fun flick.