Billed as a remix of the original 1990 film, music video director Calmatic has transformed “House Party” for a world of McMansions and Instagram influencers. In this new vision, best friends Damon (Even Cole) and Kevin (Jacob Latimore) found themselves recently fired from their cleaning job and in a financial pinch after their own party’s bill was kicked out by a trio of angry lobbyists. They decide to throw the last party at their last place of work – the house of LeBron James – to solve their problems, but they find a lot of trouble, chaos, and even an elite party that crashes in process.
The first “House Party” and its remake have many visual and narrative elements, and part of the appeal of the latter can be seen in all its honors and references. The original “House Party” starred hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play (Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin) as high schoolers and aspiring party hosts. As in the first movie, the two sets of friends in the story seem like an odd pairing—one is more sensitive and musically creative but shy about it, and the other is a relentless instigator of bad but fun ideas and irrepressible flirting. . Cole and Latimore put themselves in this dynamic with a charming relationship, shifting between fighting and for each other. Their characters seem to have a bond that only comes with time and trust. Their active support for each other often feels more profound and emotional than a silly joke about partying at a famous person’s house might suggest.
Aside from the inclusion of some similar supporting characters, such as a love interest and quirky DJ, most of the narrative similarities between the two shows stop there, which has gotten some diehard fans of mine surprise screening. The low-budget neighborhood party put together by a few teenagers is now an outsized event at the house of a celebrity, focused on inviting famous names, spreading the word through social media , and hiring the Keystone Cops version of party security. The poor and mediocre intentions of the first movie have been replaced by the need to make it look glamorous and more expensive than it really is. In trying to appeal to the new generation, the filmmakers lost something of the old appeal. To sell this lavish party, the new “House Party” doubles up on popular cameos, something the original started. George Clinton, but in the interest of not spoiling some of the movie’s best surprises, I’ll leave them unnamed. At least one of the most important moves from the ’90s movie, the Kid ‘n Play kick step, made an appearance in the dance battle.