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5. ‘House Party: Tonight’s the Night’ (2013)
Listen, Hollywood: “Take the plot from the original but make it trash” has never worked. There’s no redeeming quality here, but at least give the producers some claps for having Kid ’n Play make a special appearance. In summary: The party’s over.
4. ‘House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute’ (2001)
The key art tells you all you need to know. Kid ’n Play weren’t part of the film, and IMx (formerly Immature) got star billing. Group lead Jon Jon (Marques Houston), housesitting for his rich uncle, only has two jobs: Don’t have a party (in a film called House Party), and don’t put the keys in the ignition of the platinum Mercedes-Benz 430. He does both. Blaming Chris Stokes, who wrote and directed this train wreck, is too easy. Where was John Hughes?! He was obligated to issue a cease-and-desist letter for this blatant bite of a comedy plot he damn well invented in the ’80s.
3. ‘House Party 3’ (1994)
The good news: This film grossed $19 million and marked the debut of arguably the most successful one-note comedian of our time, Chris Tucker. That’s a story for another day. The bad news: Sydney is presented as a homewrecker, as Kid’s fiancée walks in while the two are innocently embracing. Worse news: Play botches Kid’s bachelor party but is saved by a fête thrown by three children. Can’t condone this scary child’s play. Word to Chuckie.
2. ‘House Party 2’ (1991)
If you’re looking for the origins of “Pajama Jammy Jam,” here’s your answer. If you’re also seeking the definition of a self-centered friend who will put himself first at every opportunity and risk your church-provided scholarship in the process, see Play’s character. Top it off with a goddamn colonizing roommate, and you’ve got exactly why you should send your kid to an HBCU with a downloaded copy of Drumline.
1. ‘House Party’ (1990)
Weird Science wasn’t our reality. Writer and director Reginald Hudlin created a film that spoke to the Black party experience, and it was spot on. The strict parent was represented brilliantly by late comedian Robin Harris, safe sex was responsibly addressed, and the high-top fade got the Hollywood worship it deserved. Gary and Wyatt could never.