My first response to the film “Party Monster” is to say that Macaulay Culkin has not progressed much from his work in “Home Alone.” In fact, he may have taken a few steps backward.My later responses ranged from bewildered amusement to downright boredom. This movie stars Culkin as Michael Alig, a party organizer for “club kids,” a developing group of drugged out youths in New York City. Alig and his friend James St. James, played by Seth Green, teach us that even the most flamboyant caricatures of ambiguously oversexualized clubbers can begin to bore a movie-goer.I think it would be fair to say that a thematically similar film that is more worthwhile to watch would be “Velvet Goldmine.” It deals with a similar culture of decadence surrounding the Glam-Rock scene.Alig and St. James live on the bleeding edge of the NYC youth social scene. Alig begins as a busboy, becomes an amateur party promoter, and eventually becomes the biggest thing to hit the city. St. James begins as his mentor in the art of fabulousness, but is quickly overshadowed by his protege’s successes.Green’s performance was above par for the film, but was still near-comically overacted. Now might be a good time to say the following – perhaps the film was shooting for the degree of ridiculousness the acting achieved. If so, then it accomplished that goal marvelously. However, succeeding in achieving a mediocre goal still makes it a mediocre film.The film also features performances by Marilyn Manson, Chlo Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne and Wilmer Valderrama. Unfortunately, their performances were hard to catch because of the films almost single-minded focus on the two stars. Now, I understand the need to focus on the main characters – it’s what makes them main characters – but the supporting cast ought to be in the film enough to support the principles.Having given this film, so far, a mostly negative review, I’d like to focus on some of the things the film was able to do right. First off, the costuming was superb. It was impressively executed and well-designed.I also liked the method of storytelling. Part flashback, part narrative – a healthy amount of breaking the fourth wall. Would that the script were more sharply written, and the performances less cartoonish, this had the potential to be an excellent film.And if you have even passing interest in the topics covered by the film – the club scene, the unabashed (and non-restrictive) sexuality, or the tragic downfall of a celebrity icon, this is a good movie to go see. But don’t get your hopes up. It isn’t a great movie, and isn’t entertaining enough to justify its own self-indulgence.Powell can be reached atlpowell@campustimes.org.



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