Review for How To Talk To Girls At Parties
How To Talk To Girls At Parties is adapted from the short story by Neil Gaiman. Enn and his two friends Vic and John are teenagers in the late 1970s. All they want to do is listen to Punk music, get with girls and make their Punk Fanzine. On a night out they encounter Zan and her group of friends who turn out to be aliens or 'Tourists' visiting Earth. Zan decides to break away from all of their 'sight seeing' and accompanies Enn for 48 Hours of living free before the 'Eating'.
What did I just watch?
I finished this film feeling that I had been cheated out of a good film. I love Neil Gaiman's work and when I saw the trailer to this film I thought it was going to be an amazing mix of science fiction and a romcom. Instead, the film feels an utter mess. An utter mess. Visually it is the stunning. The costume design, 1970s Punk aesthetic, the use of music and much of the shot composition made it look phenomenal. It is just a shame that they wrapped it around a completely nonsensical plot. I wanted to describe it as a ripoff of Nicolas Roeg's classic The Man Who Fell To Earth, but that would be giving this film far too much credit. The fact they paraphrase the title of that film in the tagline made me even more aware of how much it was trying (and failing) to be that film.
Acting from everyone is fine. Nicole Kidman's cameo as Nightclub owner Boadicea is amazing and I wish the film had been about her instead. Elle Fanning is great as Zan and she suits the confused alien role as does Alex Sharp as the confused and naive Enn. The rest of the cast is fine, though I was thrown for a loop by Matt Lucas's bizarre turn in the film that made little sense.
My main issue with the film is that there is simply no real plot and what there is really doesn't warrant a feature film. Maybe if they had adapted this to be part of an anthology film it would have worked, but the film felt like a ten-twenty minute short stretched beyond capacity to feature film length. I didn't enjoy the film by the end and I was even more disappointed simply because of how well they were able to recreate 1970s England and I wanted them to just forget the Gaiman story and just continue to tell me about Enn and his friends. By the end I facepalmed at was so clearly fanservice that if you were not a fan you would have seen no point in it
Extras consist of one Deleted Scene which neither add or took away from the film lasting less than a minute and then a multitude of cast and crew interviews. My only issue with this is that there is no Play All option which would have made watching a lot easier.
The cast interviewed include Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, AJ Lewis, Ethan Lawrence, Matt Lucas and Martin Tomlinson. Crew interviews are with Director John Cameron Mitchell, writer of the original story Neil Gaiman, Producers Iain Canning and Howard Gertler, Costume Designer Sandy Powell and Production Designer Helen Scott. All have a lot to say about the making of the film and it clear from everyone that thus is a project that everyone enjoyed working on.
How To Talk To Girls At Parties should have been fantastic and is all the more disappointing because it isn't. It has its heart in the right place and clearly the people who made it loved the original story, but I feel this love was lost somewhere between the visual creation and the actual filming. Maybe if Gaiman had been more involved it would have been better, but as it is by the end I didn't know how to talk to girls at parties or how to talk people into watching this film.