Neil's Party (2006) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but definitely R for nudity, sexuality, drug use, and language
Running Time: 89 min.
Cast: Andrew Casey, Alex Hardy, Bryn Lucas, Geraint Rees, Lauren Bigby, Jesicca Blundell, Emma Boardman, Andy McQuade
Director: Stephen Pidgeon
Screenplay: Philip Lott, Kevin Markwick, Graham Pidgeon, Stephen Pidgeon
Neil's Party is not much more than American Pie with British accents, involving the same premise of a group of 18-year-old buddies out to finally get laid before moving on into the dog-eat-dog world. The formula involves plenty of nudity and gross-out hijinks to take up most of the running time, while turning sweet for the film's final moments. If you're predisposed to liking these sorts of teen sex films, you may find it enjoyable in its own limited fashion, but viewers looking for something new and interesting will be better off popping American Pie in their DVD player than in seeing this superfluous rehash.
Neil (Casey) is the virginal young man of the title, 18 and single, with one hell of a crush on his best friend, Lauren. He's frustrated that she has never seen him as more than a friend, but he is determined to finally come clean about his feelings and give asking her out a go, if only he can figure out just how to do it the right way. Meanwhile, his three other best chums are also out to get laid this summer, and their best course of action is to throw a party, getting in all of the cool guys and hot girls to join them for a night of fun and frolic.
Neil's Party isn't an unlikeable film, but with four American Pie films already produced, as well as a plethora of clones, there needed to be some new hook in order for the project to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. Outside of the aforementioned British accents, there isn't anything you haven't seen variations of before in many other lowbrow sex comedies, making this only worth watching for those that just can't get enough of the genre.
There really doesn't seem to have been a great deal of thought as to how to play out the movie, with the party not manifesting itself until the second half, and even then, the main players barely seem to be involved in the actual partying themselves. Curiously, for the "party to go down in history", it's not particularly memorable, beginning (oddly) in the middle of the day, carrying on into the evening, with Neil himself only entering or leaving his home to tell the DJ how loud he'd like the music. It's also a low budget affair, which is all too evident by the quality of the audio, very inconsistent in tone and volume, with some scenes almost inaudible. It may help if you can read lips.
Anyone looking for another slice of Pie will find that Neil's Party has arrived far too late to serve up anything more than crumbs.
©2006 Vince Leo