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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » House Party 4
House Party 4
New Line
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 25, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The original "House Party" was an entertaining mix of hip-hop and comedy with a great amount of energy. Then, there was "House Party 2" and even a third feature that went directly to video. Part one was not exactly high art, but after the diminishing returns of both two and three I can't see who was exactly clamoring for a fourth outing - especially without the original cast and a far more amateurish look and budget.

This edition stars Marques Houston as Jon Jon, who, as the movie opens, fakes sick so he can stay home from school since his rich uncle needs a house-sitter. His sister, who was going to be the original sitter and of course, she starts a tantrum when her brother takes her place. As soon as Jon Jon gets to his uncle's house he calls up his two friends and begins to make plans for his party. In order to get his girlfriend out of school though, he has to dress up as a woman (don't ask.) A teacher suspects that something's out of the ordinary and so Jon Jon not only has to keep things under wraps from the nosy teacher but his sister.

The film's micro-budget is apparent from the first frame. The bland visuals make it look like the film was shot on a lesser film stock and locations are quite basic, as well. But the biggest problem is that the film simply isn't at all funny. Jokes fail time and time again and matters aren't helped any by the remarkably bad performances. There are several moments where it looked like the characters were reading off cards off-screen; none of them have any sense of comedic timing and as a result, bad jokes are made unintentionally slightly amusing. For the most part though, "House Party 4" is painfully slow and unfunny. It even rips off the THX logo music when a luxury car is revealed by a character.


The DVD

VIDEO: "House Party 4" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and a full_frame edition - both are accessable via the menu. The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer comes across fairly well. Although the bland visual style and look of the movie do detract from the image quality, sharpness and detail are fair and, except for a couple of scenes where the movie seemed slightly soft, the picture looked well-defined. At least the picture seemed largely free of flaws; a tiny bit of edge enhancement and pixelation popped up once or twice, but the print seemed clean and clear, with no marks or scratches. Colors also usually appeared fine, looking decently saturated, with no instances of smearing. An okay presentation.

SOUND: "House Party 4" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, although it makes little use of the surrounds. Even the rap music that populates the soundtrack mainly is focused from the front two main speakers, with little (if any) re-inforcement from the surrounds. Surrounds mainly offer some random and inconsistent ambient sounds, but are used infrequently. Audio quality was decent, but pretty unremarkable. The rap music had little in the way of the kind of bass-heavy beats that viewers would likely expect and the dialogue also had some moments that sounded strained.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus that simply use film-themed images.

EXTRAS:: Extras include a 25 minute "behind-the-scenes" documentary that takes viewers on the set and introduces them to all the characters via interviews with the actors; trailers for "House Party 1/2/3"; filmographies and a music video from IMX for "Clap Your Hands".

Final Thoughts: "House Party 4" is the least entertaining of the series and also, the most unfunny and predictable. New Line's DVD presents respectable audio and video quality along with some decent extras. Still, the movie isn't worth a look by anyone but the most die-hard of "House Party" fans.

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