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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.15%
Worth A Look48.48%
Average: 3.03%
Pretty Bad: 30.3%
Total Crap: 3.03%

3 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Party Girl
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Achieves maximum Poseyosity."
4 stars

Indie princess Parker Posey was supposed to own Hollywood, and "Party Girl" was the vehicle that was supposed to hand her the keys. It didn't do much theatrically, though, so Posey had to settle for small roles in big movies and big roles in small movies. The movie has built a vociferous video cult, both among Posey fanatics and among librarians. Many are in both camps, and if you don't believe a librarian can also be a Parker Posey fan, "Party Girl" explodes the stereotype. Believe me, more librarians are like Posey than like Nancy Pearl these days.

Posey is Mary, a New York hipster who organizes drink-and-drug-fueled parties for all her hip friends. Yeah, that sounds annoying. It's sort of meant to be, though the movie is consistently good-hearted, and before long you're won over by Mary and her crowd. A one-woman United Nations, she embraces interesting, funny people of all nationalities and sexualities, and so does the movie. Party Girl sees New York as a multicultural fairyland where pretty much nobody means any harm.

After the cops bust one of Mary's parties, she appeals to her godmother Judy (the late Sasha von Scherler Mayer, whose daughter Daisy made her directing debut here) and is offered a job at Judy's library. It's a tenuous match at first, but we see that deep down Mary is desperate to be serious about something. Eventually she comes to love the library and its ordered volumes of knowledge; she applies her newfound Dewey Decimal skills to her DJ roomie's record collection.

The dialogue is often funky and hilarious (I particularly like "They threw me a surprise birthday party without my permission"), though the script could be fresher. Every character has a facile other side to them. Mustafa (Omar Townsend), a falafel street vendor Mary crushes on, is also a teacher. Nigel (Liev Schreiber, rocking a fake British accent), a doorman at a trendy club, shows his true colors in the only plot turn that really doesn't fit this bubbly movie. Rene (Donna Mitchell), the hard-bitten owner of that club, turns out to be — surprise — not so hard-bitten. And so on.

Mary's character arc, too, is a bit clichéd. But we understand Mary's yearning for structure after years of living from party to party, and we get that being organized — whether at work or in her life — fills a deep need for her. Posey gets this across without losing track of what makes Mary fun to watch, and the movie does offer a Marian the Librarian type in the uptight Judy but also offers a staff as ethnically mixed as the rest of the city. And in one good speech, we see that Judy is right to be uptight: nobody respects librarians because reading is a dying art. The film doesn't indulge in any "shhh" burlesque, which is a relief (if anything it reserves its snark for library patrons).

But it's safe to say "Party Girl" wouldn't be as beloved without Parker Posey, the jewel in this indie crown. She dances, she poses, she looks great in any number of ensembles only she would look great in, she cross-files books. She's fabulous in a way that few actresses are allowed to be anymore. That she never really hit the big time in Hollywood is a continuing testament to Hollywood's lack of taste.

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originally posted: 01/21/08 14:09:56
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User Comments

4/15/16 kpgmhn USA 2 stars
7/25/04 abu hasan ok 5 stars
7/09/03 David Garcia It was really good! 4 stars
5/08/03 abdul_wahed good movie 3 stars
3/02/03 mike t fucking sucks 1 stars
3/26/02 Wendy A visual bible! What a fun little flick. Perfect background noise during a real party. 4 stars
3/09/02 Debi A1995 time warp. I'm a librarian. If you are, then you'll understand why I like it! 4 stars
6/02/01 nhbri Great one liners, hystericallly portrays the life of a modern 20-something hip chic. 5 stars
11/28/00 Monday Morning A valley girl in NYC...big deal. Almost a total waste of time. 2 stars
11/05/00 Gray Parker Posey's worst film. 2 stars
8/11/00 Elvisfan Very funny, insightful, characters to care about & laugh with 5 stars
6/28/99 Steve Bashakus What a great, engaging movie - Parker is the shit. 5 stars
2/24/99 Thom Party Girl is about becoming an adult. Campy and ironic, but serious fun. 5 stars
12/24/98 PirateGirl The humor is HIGHLY underrated. Ew, incest. 4 stars
8/28/98 Mister Whoopee Kind of enjoyed this when I saw it, but I really hate the fact. There was nothing of merit. 2 stars
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  09-Jun-1995 (R)



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