Party Girl

Reviewed By Scott Weinberg
Posted 05/02/04 18:12:15

"Posey effortlessly overcomes a somewhat flimsy framework."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Already more than a little out-of-date and rather silly in its devotion to the late-night party life, Party Girl is still a pretty darn entertaining little diversion - even if it is not much more than a paper-thin retread of the old ‘modern gal discovers maturity’ schtick.

With a less ebullient lead on board, my guess is that this one could have been an interminable chore. But fortunately for all involed, the lead is (of course) indie-queen and all-around sassy-cool gal Parker Posey.

Posey’s been a hardworking staple in independent film for years now, and cineplex audiences have recently been able to enjoy her quirky stylings in stuff like Josie and the Pussycats and The Sweetest Thing. But it was Party Girl that gave Posey a big colorful starring role in which to showcase her brassy humor, oddball grace and impressive acting skills. In other words, she’d been around a while and some smart indie director (Daisy von Scherler Mayer) came up with what seems a vehicle tailor-made for Posey’s imposing talent.

Posey plays “party girl” Mary, an irresponsible free spirit who pays her New York rent by hosting swanky “rent parties”. After being arrested for one particularly loud bash, Mary reluctantly accepts a library job from her concerned godmother. Obviously a young woman given to all-night drug parties would find a library a tough place to get along in, though (to her credit) Mary does learn some responsibility - but only before screwing up BIG time…

There are of course various colorful friends of varying attitude and sexuality - as well as a handsome Lebanese felafel vendor for Mary to woo (unsuccessfully until the end, natch). Predictably, Mary begins to grow more responsible and ambitious as her late-night activities begin to curtail. To be perfectly honest, Party Girl follows a fairly predictable narrative; the quality lies almost exclusively in the details.

Parker Posey’s performance alone would probably make this flick worthy of a weekend rental, though there’s also a funky soundtrack of mid-90s rave tunes. Familiar faces like Live Schrieber and Guillermo Diaz help to colorfully populate the background, though this show is Posey’s spotlight all the way. Her performance is sprinkled with big toothy grins, theatrically amusing line deliveries, and a pair of dance-happy hips that punctuate the flick’s best moments. If you’re a fan of this generally overlooked actor, you’ll certainly enjoy Party Girl.

And if you’re not…well, see this movie and you soon will be.

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