House Party 2: The Pajama Jam (1991) — A rushed sequel and a rushed party

“Jamal, do me a favor? Talk white.”

Justin’s rating: Everybody, if you can, do the Bartman!

Justin’s review: It’s not a very good sign that my entire body moaned “wearyyyyyy” going into just the second installment of a self-imposed marathon. The first House Party left me apathetic to both houses and parties alike, which left no great hope that a quickly churned-out sequel starring a pair of has-been rappers would be winning any Oscars — or my heart.

But hey, I’m committed, so let’s see this through.

One year later in the Kid ‘n Play Universe, the cause of comedy and hip-hop has taken many bold strides backwards. Kid (Christopher Reid), the one with the really tall hair, is off to college. His associate Play (Christopher Martin), the one who looks somewhat like Theo Huxtable, is running one of those record shops where musicians lounge around and wait for record deals to walk through the door.

Play loses Kid’s tuition money, and they putz around until about the one hour mark, when they finally throw a party on campus to make Kid’s money back. Yes, that’s correct. It’s one entire hour of pointless filler before we get to the promised party, which, when we get there, lasts for no more than sixteen minutes and really isn’t that great anyway. You remember that party in Real Genius, where Val Kilmer throws a beach blast in the college auditorium? That’s like twenty times cooler than House Party 2’s idea of bouncing people in very modest pajamas.

We really couldn’t be saddled with two sorrier excuses for actors, who I gather mainly appeared in this movie to show off their funky dance moves and sell more albums. Yeah, that worked for Vanilla Ice in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2, too. Play’s supposed to be this womanizing, Han Solo-ish rogue, but he can’t quite land that. And don’t get me started on Kid, who doesn’t exactly fit in with normal human anatomy — his bug eyes grate on me more than any of the cheesy dialogue present in this flick — and whose style of passive-aggressive characterization makes Charlie Brown seem like a dashing, decisive hero.

We’re supposed to feel for Kid as he struggles with his girlfriend (who falls under the spell of Queen Latifah), learns that studying equals power, and gets a job in the college kitchen. Yet none of these things are interesting even to Kid himself, so why should I care?

With some zippy quotes and a more creative use of the college scene, House Party 2 might’ve been something notable. As it is, the only real push for a comedic tone involves using Looney Tunes sound effects (for example, one of the characters gets insulted and the soundtrack makes a weird “boing-oing-oing” sound effect to punctuate the lack of a punch line) and weird camera techniques. All this does is bring the total effort to a strictly sophomoric level.

The key word here is “panders,” as in every other scene in House Party 2 panders to the fans of the original film by directly referring to the first movie. Line for line, if need be. Listen, if I wanted to hear quotes and watch scenes from the first House Party, I would, I don’t know, rent the first movie!

Maybe I should just lighten up, considering that no sane person would hold high standards to a sequel rushed through production a mere year after the first film proved a modest success. I would, except that I had to spend time watching this, and some movie studio and budget directors thought that I was dumb enough to just swallow the watered-down remains of a tepid movie and ask for thirds. Oh, I’ll drink the thirds too, but I’m planning on leaving a little “house party” of my own at all the homes of New Line executives.

Now, who’s coming, and who’s bringing the TP?

Didja notice?

  • Whoopi Goldberg appearing in your dreams is not a good omen
  • Kid’s girlfriend’s baseball cap is about three feet tall
  • Play’s car’s license plate reads “FORPLAY”. Clever. Wait, the opposite of clever.
  • A movie poster for “New Jack City”, which the directors were involved in
  • Hehe… MC Hammer poster… that takes me back
  • Iman (model who was in Star Trek VI)
  • The noises the lizard makes
  • The bullies are horrible rappers. I mean, more horrible than everyone else in this movie.
  • The registration kid
  • Male Mythology: A Feminist Perspective. Sounds like a great class.
  • Malcolm X was “pro-black”
  • College deans are insane
  • Don’t get too weirded out when a photograph starts talking to you
  • Kid putting on the hair net
  • Knowledge is POWAH!
  • If a girl says no to a dance, just ask her ten more times. She’ll say yes.
  • Hope you like watching guys grab their crotches again and again!
  • You know a guy is evil when he’s DRINKING at a college PARTY!
  • A guy is also evil when his head turns into a wolf’s head
  • Boys II Men — I’m screaming with repressed memories

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