In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The more I think about it, the more I dislike The Party.”
“You were saying something about a saying.”
There are certain movies that when you say you’ve never seen them, other people act so amazed and surprised, you’d think you’d just told them you’re a holocaust and evolution denier who thinks Elvis is still alive. I’m guilty of this too. Recently I was blown away when a 24 year old told me she’d never seen The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And here’s a movie that seems to come up surprisingly often, and one that people are always amazed at when I say I’ve never seen it. The Peter Sellers slapstickfest, The Party.
As Hrundi V Bakshi, Sellers is an Indian actor, on the set of some variety of Hollywood epic. Within the first five minutes of The Party, he has managed to ruin three scenes of the movie, including a once only chance to film a huge explosion. While his ineptitude gets him fired, a misunderstanding means it also gets him invited to an exclusive party at the home of the studio head.
Once at the party, the remainder of the film’s running time is dedicated to one sketch, slap stick showpiece, recurring gag and general example of mad cappery after another. If you’re not big on physical comedy, sight gags and suspending massive amounts of disbelief in service of a joke, The Party really is not the movie for you.
Or maybe, if you are into physical comedy, sight gags and suspending massive amounts of disbelief in service of a joke, The Party really is not the movie for you. Because generally, I love that stuff, but I found this movie got real old, real quick. Maybe I need to have a better appreciation for Sellers than I do to really get this. I know it’s a blind spot of mine that needs to be filled. I think until now, the only other Sellers movie I’ve ever seen is Dr Strangelove. Whatever the reason, I found the character of Hrundi V Bakshi pretty irritating, and not in a funny way. The increasingly soused waiter on the other hand? He made me laugh every time he appeared.
In true farcical slapstick style, the more Bakshi tries to fix each small problem, the more bigger ones he creates. I guess I would have found this funnier if I was on board with the small, instigating problems. But because I already disliked his character, the bigger the problems, the more I disliked him. And the other characters that manage to wrestle away the odd moments of spotlight away from Sellers are just as annoying, one note and boring.
The Party is a classic. Too many people who know their stuff hold that opinion for me to say otherwise. But just because I recognise its status as a classic, doesn’t mean I have to like it. I‘ve seen it, I can tick it off the list of movies I should see, and I can move on, never to watch The Party again. Now I have to wonder though, can I move past it enough to fill another blind spot and dive into the Pink Panther series?
Wow, when I watched the movie, I thought it was simply a disappointment compared to all the praise, but still kind of OK. But the more I write and think about it, the more I dislike The Party. I’d better stop now before I decide it’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.
(review originally posted Februar7 17, 2014)