In spite of New Line’s ads promising “the best house party yet,””House Party 3” is the worst, which explains why it was not press-screened in advance. Lacking the genially goofy and infectious, good-natured tone that marked the initial 1990 entry (and to a lesser extent the second), and hampered by a disjointed structure, the comedy should appeal only to the most ardent fans of the previous pix and Kid N’ Play’s animated TV series.
Meant as a natural progression of the escapades of the hip-hop duo from the ‘hood, new installment revolves around the engagement of Kid (Christopher Reid) to Veda (Angela Means), his beautiful fiancee, who replaces ex-girlfriend Sydney (Tisha Campbell). Kid’s anxieties and fears of matrimony serve as weak glue to a loosely structured comedy composed of uninspired vignettes about Kid’s management company, his lifelong friendship with the now threatened Play (Christopher Martin), meeting his disapproving in-laws, and so on.
The pleasure-loving, upbeat original “House Party” contained comic highlights and hilarious mishaps about a watchful father, vicious dogs, inept cops and neighborhood bullies, all obstacles to Kid’s attending Play’s latenight jam. The less imaginative and weaker 1991 sequel turned socially conscious and preached for education among black suburban teenagers.
The material for the series was always ephemeral and episodic, but the chief problem here is fragmentation and self-consciousness about its humor, characters , fashion — and just about everything. Under these circumstances, David Edwards’ Stinky, Ketty Lester’s Aunt Lucy, Bernie Mac’s Uncle Vester, and especially Michael Colyar’s Showboat all come across as broad caricatures.
Ultimately, the success of each party film depends on the quality of its guests and the fun they generate. It’s therefore perplexing that, despite some promising talent drawn from hot clubs and TV shows, “House Party 3” drags along, without fully utilizing its varied cast of performers.
Pic comes to life only in the last 15 minutes, when everybody shows up at Kid’s bachelor party, orchestrated by Immature’s three shrewd kids.
However, pandering to the younger viewers, scripter Takashi Bufford and helmer Eric Meza allow these kids excessive screen time, at the expense of the far more entertaining and gifted team of Kid N’ Play.
Technical credits are solid.