Pool Party might, from the title alone, seem like it might be a pleasant throwback to the beach party movies of the 1950’s, which were cranked out for teen consumption. These movies tended to be a fun and bubbly, though ultimately disposable. Unfortunately, Pool Party is not one such film. It is actually a low-brow comedy in the vein of American Pie or Road Trip, only minus the fun.
The movie is centered on Matt, a young man played by Justin T. Bowler. Justin is exactly the sort of protagonist one usually sees in this sort of movie. He is generally a nice guy, but is capable of being roped or tempted into questionable things. He is good-looking, but not necessarily spectacularly handsome. He smart and talented, and seems set up for a good future—which threatens to get ruined by his terrible luck and tendency to attract crazy friends and hangers-on.
At the time the story begins, Matt is busy studying for his bar exam, and working on winning back his former girlfriend Maria (Mikki Padilla). Now, where exactly does the titular pool party come in? Well, matt has also been tasked with looking after the house of his boss, and making sure that no crazy shenanigans—most especially wild parties—do not happen in said house. Guess how successful he turns out to be. As often happens in these sorts of films, there are many side-characters and wacky set pieces, including a stalker clown (Billy Minogue).
Of course, the main question is whether or not the film is funny. It is true that a few of the jokes are successful, but in general, the humor here falls flat—even if you approach the movie with expectations appropriate to this kind of teen-oriented sex comedy. Perhaps it is because the high proportion of homophobic humor gets repetitive, and leaves a nasty aftertaste, as well.
Furthermore, the movie fails to give us any likable characters. Both Matt and Maria are rather annoying, and we are unable to invest any emotion in whether they get back together. We do not thing it is especially urgent that Matt should succeed in his career. In other words, it is hard for the audience to feel as if anything is at stake, so there is no excitement in watching the movie develop. We just wait until the next pratfall, hoping that it will be funny. As for the side characters, they are just bizarre without being interesting or adding to the story.
Some readers of this review might complain that the piece is not fair, as it only focuses on the negative points. Therefore, in the interest of fairness, here are some good points about the movie. Firstly, clocking in at just over an hour and a half, it really isn’t that long. Secondly, a little digging around IMDB will show that some of the people involved in this stinker managed to move on to better projects in film and TV. They survived this movie, and so can you.
Year : 2007
Director : Timothy M. Snell
Writer : Timothy M. Snell, Justin T. Bowler, Michael DiGaudio, Jonathan Gunning
Starring: Justin T. Bowler, Sarah Horvath, David Lawrence, Billy Minogue, Mikki Padilla
Country: United States
Running time: 92 min.