House Party (film)

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House Party
House Party 1990 Movie Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Reginald Hudlin
Produced by Gerald T. Olson
Warrington Hudlin
Written by Reginald Hudlin
Starring Christopher "Play" Martin
Martin Lawrence
Christopher "Kid" Reid
Robin Harris
Tisha Campbell
A.J. Johnson
Music by Lenny White
Marcus Miller
Cinematography Peter Deming
Edited by Earl Watson
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • March 9, 1990 (1990-03-09)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.5 million[1]
Box office $26,385,627[2]

House Party is a 1990 American comedy film released by New Line Cinema. It stars Kid and Play of the popular hip hop duo Kid 'n Play, and also stars Paul Anthony, Bow-Legged Lou, and B-Fine from Full Force, and Robin Harris (who died of a heart attack nine days after House Party was released). The film also starred Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, A.J. Johnson, Daryl "Chill" Mitchell and Gene "Groove" Allen (of Groove B. Chill), Kelly Jo Minter, John Witherspoon, with a cameo by funk musician George Clinton. This was Robin Harris' last on-screen performance before his untimely death, shortly after the film was completed.

The film was written and directed by Reginald Hudlin, based on his award-winning Harvard University student film.[3] The film grossed $26,385,627 in its run at the box office with its widest release being 700 theaters. The film has since become a cult classic.[citation needed] Upon its initial release, the film garnered critical acclaim.

The lead roles were originally written for DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.[citation needed]


While in their high school cafeteria, Peter, also known as "Play" (Christopher "Play" Martin) announces to his friends Christopher aka "Kid" (Reid) and Bilal (Martin Lawrence) that he will be having a party at his house that night, as his parents are on vacation. The reluctant Bilal is to be the DJ. Kid is then involved in an altercation with school bully Stab (Paul Anthony) and his two brothers Pee-Wee and Zilla (Bowlegged Lou and B-Fine). When Kid comes home, he tries to convince his father, "Pop" (Robin Harris) to let him go to the party. At first Kid's father relents, but soon grounds Kid when a note from Kid's school informs him of the fight he was in. Rather than miss the party of the year, Kid sneaks out while his sleeping father is watching Dolemite - not realizing that his father woke up just as he closed the door. On his way to the party, Kid runs into Stab and his brothers, he jumps over a fence to get away, ending up looking in a window where a fat man is having rough sex with his lady, and when he is discovered, Kid jumps back over the fence, and the three punks are shot at. Kid then ducks into an Alpha Delta Sigma reunion nearby to get away from them. Crashing the reunion, Kid has the DJ (George Clinton) scratch and mix a few of his old doo wop records so that he can liven the party with a rap, until Stab and the others turn up again. When trying to get away from Stab, he winds up knocking an older man down before attempting to make a run for it. However, Kid and the bullies are caught by the neighborhood police, who humiliate the four teenagers in front of the reunion party attendees before letting them go.

When Kid finally makes it to the house party, he finds it in full swing, with attractive girls Sydney (Campbell) and Sharane (Johnson) also in attendance. After some music and dancing, Kid and Play first get into a dance contest with Sidney and Sharane, and later have a quick freestyle battle. Stab and his friends attempt to break up the party, but are arrested a second time by the policemen, who take delight in the prospect of beating them up. Kid's father eventually makes his way to the party, demanding to know where Kid is. When he doesn't spot Kid - Kid is upstairs helping Sharane get her coat - Pop vows to wait for the boy at home. Play stops the party because his bathroom toilet was broken by party members. Although Kid and Sydney each have an eye for each other, Sharane decides to openly flirt with Kid, much to Sydney's disgust. The three of them soon leave the party, but when Kid tries to make advances on Sharane, she rebuffs him. Kid then walks Sydney back home, and after some argument the two of them finally calm down and make conversation.

Sydney allows Kid to sneak into her house, and the two are about to have sex in Sydney's room when she stops him, wanting to know if she is simply his second choice. Kid admits that Sydney was his first choice all along, but they do not do anything when they see that the only condom Kid has is too old to be used. When Sydney's parents come home - now revealed as one of the couples at the high school reunion, including the man Kid ran into - Sydney hastily helps Kid sneak out of the house. He manages to get out of yet another scrape with Stab and his brothers, and they all end up in a jail cell,The men tell Kid what they're in jail for and Kid entertains the rest of the men in the cell by rapping, distracting them long enough for Play, Sharane, Bilal, and Sydney to arrive with enough cash to bail him out. Later on, the five friends say their goodnights. Kid and Sydney share a long passionate kiss goodnight. After Play and Bilal drops him off, Kid sneaks in the house and gets undressed. As he is about to get into bed, he looks up only to find Pop holding a belt. The movie then cuts to the credits where the sound of Pop ranting and raving as he whips Kid can be heard.

After the credits, two policemen walk outside the police station to be crushed by a roof.



A soundtrack containing hip hop and R&B music was released on March 9, 1990 by Motown Records. It peaked at 104 on the Billboard 200 and 20 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.


The film was a popular success, and two sequels were made: House Party 2 in 1991; and House Party 3 in 1994. House Party 2 features Lawrence and Campbell reprising their roles from the first film; the two would begin co-starring in the TV sitcom Martin the following year. House Party 3 features hip hop/R&B groups TLC and Immature in supporting roles. In 2001, Immature (now going by IMx) starred in a direct-to-video sequel, House Party 4: Down to the Last Minute, which does not feature any of the original cast from the other three films. A fifth installment and direct follow-up to the third film, titled House Party: Tonight's the Night was filmed in 2012 with Tequan Richmond, Zac Goodman, Tristin Mays, Alex McGregor, Rolonda Watts and Gary Anthony Williams. The film was a direct to DVD release in 2013, and also marked the return of Kid 'n Play to the series.


House Party was met with critical acclaim.[4][5] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 96% "fresh" rating, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "House Party is a light, entertaining teen comedy with an infectious energy".[6] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it three out of four stars and commended its "energy and exuberance".[7] He called the film "wall-to-wall with exuberant song and dance" and stated, "the musical is a canvas used by the director, Reginald Hudlin, to show us black teenagers with a freshness and originality that's rare in modern movies".[7]

American Film Institute recognition:


  1. ^ Hudlin, Reginald (2000-09-10). "If It's a Question of Money . . .". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  2. ^ House Party at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Thomas, Kevin (1986-01-27). "Winning Black Videos, Films Highlight Youth". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California). Retrieved 2011-10-29. Reginald Hudlin's "House Party!," a stylish and witty look at teen-age behavior, won the $1,500 first prize in the fourth annual Black Independent Video and Film-maker's Awards sponsored by the Black American Cinema Society, the film archives of the Western States Black Research Center. 
  4. ^ Wilmington, Michael (1990-03-09). "Rite of Teen-Age Passage in 'House Party'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 
  5. ^ Caro, Mark (1990-03-09). "House Party` Full Of The Energy Of Young Black Culture". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (March 9, 1990). "House Party". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  8. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees

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