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‘House Party’ Review: ’90s Cult Classic Falls Flat in Its Lackluster Revival

'House Party' Review: '90s Cult Classic Falls Flat in Its Lackluster Revival

Calmatic, a veteran music video director, is giving the Kid ‘n Play comedy an exciting re-imagining set in LeBron James’ amazing Los Angeles estate

The classic 1990 House Party movie may not be a cinematic masterpiece, however, it radiates an infectious energy and lighthearted fun that made it incredibly popular. It features the comedic duo Kid ‘n Play (Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin) in lead roles as well as some amazing supporting cast members such as Martin Lawrence, Robin Harris, John Witherspoon, and Tisha Campbell. The renowned teen comedy has generated an abundance of sequels, and now director Calmatic has given us a “remix, not a remake.” 

This movie’s party is held in a luxurious L.A. mansion, owned by none other than LeBron James himself. Despite the warning from Space Jam: A New Legacy that James truly excels on the court rather than as an actor, screenwriters Jamal Olori and Stephen Glover (Atlanta) remain adamant about centering their story around him.

Damon (Tosin Cole, 61st Street) and Kevin (Jacob Latimore, The Chi), two club promoters who also happen to be best friends, attempt to pull off an impromptu shindig. Unfortunately, they are too preoccupied while on the job as house cleaners that day — causing them both to get fired. With money being tight for each of them; one needing a place to live and the other having outstanding child support payments due – their only option appears to be hosting a party at James’ mansion where they worked when everything went haywire.

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No comedic relief is to be had, as the duo’s troubles mount with three promoters arriving at their door demanding payment they owe; a DJ who believes he can traverse time and space; an unwitting neighbor’s koala bear becoming intoxicated on marijuana; and finally an inept security detail that fails miserably in protecting their mansion from being destroyed.

Numerous celebrities and hip-hop stars are also present in this movie, including Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Mya, Mark Cuban, Juvenile, and Lena Waithe even showed up to add a touch of hilarity to the proceedings – outshined only by her thought experiment about re-creating Roots “backwards”. Kid ‘n Play is there too; they had just enough self-awareness not to look utterly oblivious as they basked at being celebrated once again.

After understanding that James’ coveted championship ring had been stolen, Damon (who enunciates his name ‘la French way’) and Kevin come across a clandestine and terribly violent Illuminati meeting. Shockingly, during the course of the assembly, heads begin to roll.

It would be an understatement to say that not a single element of the film was funny. To illustrate its obliviousness to humor, James unexpectedly comes home and threatens to call the police; Damon then foolishly suggests they play one-on-one basketball instead. Unsurprisingly, James accepts the offer and easily wins, yet none of this is played for laughs. It’s even more disappointing considering that the director is a Grammy award-winning music video and commercial producer — a feat that should have at least yielded some beautiful visuals.

About the author

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Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Priya enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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