When a movie has long-established its rhythm and basically admitted it has none and then bursts to life — even briefly — it’s worth noting that at the top a review.
“The After Party” manages a random laugh, here and there, telling the story of aspiring high school rapper Owen (Kyle Harvey) and his pushy true-believer manager-wannabe Jeffrey (Harrison Holzer) who knows he can “make it” and not have leave to join the Marines in the AM.
But it only lights up when the lads realize their last shot on this last night is rounding up hot women who can get them into “The After Party.” Because after herding a mob of Bat Mitzvah “b—-es” (13 year-olds) and being denied, they get desperate — strippers.
And it’s only after mouthy, sassy superstar Bl’asia (Teyana Taylor, who steals the movie) and her pals have piled into Jeffrey’s dad’s vintage Rolls Royce Phantom that they realize her jealous boyfriend is PSYCHO-KILLER jealous.
“After Party” sputters up to that point, and flails pretty much all the way to the ending that follows. But as predictable as even that chased-by-the-jealous-psycho moment is, it’s the movie that might have been, an odd promising idea or flash of wit lost in a regurgitation of recycled ideas, plot retreads and character cliches.
The kid’s had his shots in showcases and talent shows. Owen blew his biggest chance by taking a pull off a Wiz Khalifa joint before spitting his rhymes to a crowd. He ends up spitting up all over the audience and Wiz, then going into a seizure.
“Seizure Boy” goes viral, shutting down any chance of getting signed and proving, once and for all, that nobody smokes stronger kush than Wiz.
“He’s washed,” “deader than dub step” one and all agree on the Youtube. Even aged hip hop fan Michael Rappaport says so. Owen faces reality, and decides to follow in the footsteps of his father (Blair Underwood). He’ll join the Marines at the end of the week.
Which gives crazed, pushy Jeffrey just a couple of days to beg, nag, badger and plead his boy’s case to every record label, every intern, every assistant and every rapper he can get in front of. All of which points them to one all-or-nothing “After Party” for a French Montana show.
The big gimmick in “Puerto Ricans in Paris” writer-director Ian Edelman’s bag is all the real-life hip hop stars he landed for cameos, from Charlamagne tha God to DJ Khaled, DMX and Jadakiss.
Doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t often help either.
There’s a bracing hip hop political incorrectness to the script, with “Jew boy” this and “Jew up in midtown managing me” cracks amidst the blizzard of folks being labeled or just addressed as “niggas” or “bitches.”
At this point in the national conservation over slurs, all that’s left is pairing those last two words up. But nobody, least of all these folks, would dare go there and thus make the audience and the characters on screen catch on — “Oh, yeah, when you put it THAT way, that’s offensive.”
Owen lusts after Scarsdale rich-boy Jeffrey’s older sister (Shelley Hennig) and she becomes his all-night pursuit on this most important “Ferris Bueller” adventure evening. Rich-and-beautiful-and-she-knows-it Alicia even gets dragged on stage to be rapped to.
“I just got objectified by a rapper and I love it!”
Jeffrey? He’s so white and Jewish that he’s “Chad” to every person of color he meets.
Harvey, who goes by the stage name Kyle as a rapper, isn’t a polished screen actor which makes him a more believable novice-rapper, but doesn’t do much for his screen appeal He’s truly only funny when others are making fun of him — “You look like Klay Thompson (NBA’s Warriors) with Down’s Syndrome!”
Holzer, of “My Friend Dahmer” and “Sex Tape,” positions himself as a younger Adam Devine, hitting the occasional funny line entirely too hard.
But the “Seizure Boy” jokes kind of work, beginning to end. And those strippers and that would-be manager, chased and beaten and watching this lovely Roller they’re rolling in get trashed?
That’s the high point, one of too few to make “The After Party” worth the hangover it leaves you with.
MPAA Rating: unrated, violence, drug use, nudity, profanity
Cast: Harrison Holzer, Kyle Harvey, Jordan Rock, Shelley Hennig, Blair Underwood, Wiz Khalifa, Teyana Taylor
Credits: Written and directed by Ian Edelman. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:30