House Party 3 (1994) — A small but significant step up

“WHOA! My momma dead! Now I gotta cut ya! That’s the rule, cut ya, cut ya!”

Justin’s rating: Bernie brings back the party!

Justin’s review: It’s now been two years since the last House Party sequel, and it personally feels like it’s been two years since I began this stupid marathon. Why was I doing it? No one I know thinks it’s either cool or horrible that I’m putting myself through these weirdly un-Justinian flicks, and I really doubt that they’ll put “Justin: He Who Watched All The House Party Movies” on my tombstone. Unless they’re really at a loss for the rest of my life, which is possible.

Whatever the reason, into House Party 3 I went: a brave, trembling soul subject to tortured hip-hop lyrics. But when I exited via the end credits, I found myself relieved this film wasn’t so bad. In fact, I found it more enjoyable than the first two films.

Not to say there isn’t a lot of bad to be found here. After all, this is a movie series that revolves around the belief that parties in one’s house are the solution for everything, including rabies and high mortgages. We re-join Kid ‘n Play, who have moved on to their Mid ’90s phase, which is to say the “We no longer make rap albums and we’re three months away from a ‘Where are they now?’ segment on VH1.”

Don’t worry, though. These two are still the boring old farts they ever were.

Despite trading his impossibly tall afro for a tall flower arrangement of locks, Kid remains the bug-eyed nicey-nice washout who lacks the ability to turn his acting dial to anything other than “sincere.” His friend Play, an even sorrier excuse for a one-note character (he hits on girls — there, now you know all of his deep dark secrets), is right there beside him, marveling that they could even convince New Line that they had a hint of popularity left in their apostrophe-laden souls.

The basic story — and it IS basic — is that Kid is getting married to some new girl, Play wants to throw him a bachelor party, and they’re trying to score a record contract on the side. Ho and hum. Happily, the filmmakers seem to recognize that no one cares about Kid ‘n Play either, and thus stack the movie full of secondary comedians and various musical acts in an effort to take your mind away from wanting to bulldoze down both of their houses so that there can be no more parties.

The second I saw the R&B group TLC in headlining roles, a seemingly never-ending shriek came leaping out of my throat. I loathed TLC through all of the ’90s, a hatred of righteous persuasion and semi-automatic glowering. So you can imagine my thrill as both their music and their ‘tudes came a-head-waggling into House Party 3.

We also have the pre-pubescent hip-hop group Immature as Kid’s three younger, saucier cousins. You remember Immature, don’t you? What? Of course you do! They’re little kids, and they rap! How precious!

Dumb musical acts aside, the best and brightest reason to partake in this flick is for Bernie Mac. With Martin Lawrence bowing out to star in his own films, it created a mediocre comedic vacuum that sucked in some other stand-ups into this series. None hold a candle to Bernie, who charges into Kid’s life as Uncle Vester and thoroughly commands every scene that he’s in. The dinner scene between Kid’s family and his fianceé’s is actually hysterical, and a large part of that is credited to the Bernie Mac. Thanks, Mr. Mac, for saving my brain from self-destruct over this series!

I will give House Party 3 credit for trying, really trying to be something better, while it must’ve been apparent to all involved that this here was a dying franchise. There’s actual jokes — funny ones, at least — that were sprinkled through this movie like yummy croutons on an otherwise bland salad. The various thin storylines culminate in not one, not two, but three separate house parties, which is more than enough party for my buck.

I’ve wised up to something about the House Party series: Nothing ever HAPPENS at any of these parties. I was so fed up with how long it took to get to the party in the second film, but now I know it’s because they had no choice. They knew the film would grind to a halt once they got to the party, so they had to give us something to justify their paychecks. It’s the same in this movie; there are three parties, very little happens at them, and then Kid ‘n Play ride off into the sunset.

I will not weep for you, monsieur Kid and monsieur Play. You had your fifteen minutes, plus about four hours to spare. Now, on to see how your replacements fared.

Didja notice?

  • Wow… nice tacky ’80s computer font!
  • Ahh! Man-Woman! Not sexy at ALL!
  • Sgt. Sausage?
  • Not a good idea to constantly confuse your fiancee with your ex-girlfriend
  • Ah. It’s that Screamy, Screechy guy (Gilbert Gottfried)
  • Who the heck is “Immature”? Oh right. They were never anybody.
  • Prison Deli? Interesting, interesting.
  • The grandma hugging Kid by accident
  • Bernie Mac freaks out great
  • Kid’s hat — he cuts a hole in the top to feed his locks through
  • How blind people drive
  • Watching little kids talk dirty to women is downright creepy
  • Ahh! Chris Tucker alert!
  • The dinner scene is a riot
  • TMNT: The Movie! New Line is getting their money’s worth, here

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