Starring: Victoria Justice, Midori Francis, Timothy Renouf
Director: Stephen Herek
Running Time: 109 mins
Afterlife Of The Party is an American film about an outgoing young woman who suddenly dies after her birthday night out, but returns to Earth alongside a guardian angel in order to put right the lives of those around her.
It’s A Wonderful Life is a timeless classic, and as much as Hollywood seeks to reinvent the story, things always just come up short. For the most part, Afterlife Of The Party is a harmless affair, but it’s also an often lifeless one, taking itself a little too seriously, and really lacking a comedic spark.
If you’re looking for something easy to put on and relax to, then Afterlife Of The Party should just about fit the bill, and that’s because of its light premise and charismatic leading performances, notably from Victoria Justice and Midori Francis.
While the film struggles to really develop its emotional drama (more on that in a moment), the onscreen bond between Justice and Francis is really lovely to watch, with their friendship both in life and in death by far the most energetic part of the whole film.
There’s nothing about their friendship that strikes up many laughs, and it’s never quite fleshed-out enough to tug at your heartstrings, but the movie does give a lot of time for their story to breathe, albeit in the process sacrificing the story of Justice’s relationship with her father and mother.
As a result, this story, which adopts a blend of It’s A Wonderful Life and a kind of reverse A Christmas Carol, is a little lop-sided in what makes it entertaining, as I just wanted to see more of Justice and Francis being friendly together, rather than any of the secondary characters that become involved in the story.
A big part of that is down to the fact that Afterlife Of The Party really fails to develop an emotionally captivating story, yet still takes itself seriously enough that you expect to be more engrossed in the feelings of its characters.
There are some nice, heartfelt moments, but it’s clear that this film’s strengths are on the lighter side of things, and its more earnest approach to its premise makes it difficult to really love and enjoy. So, that’s why I’m giving Afterlife Of The Party a 7.0 overall.