It is difficult to become a musician. It requires a lot of work, talent, and luck. The After Party showcases only one of those aspects—talent—from its wannabe rapper, OH! (Kyle Harvey), who spends the majority of the movie having accepted the perceived fact that he’s never going to make it big. His manager, Jeff (Harrison Holzer), meanwhile, works hard to try to get him a record deal. Will they get one? It’s a movie; what do you think?
After another setback—the rest of which happen before the film and we don’t get to see them, lessening their impact—OH! is planning on joining the Marines on Friday. It’s Wednesday. Jeff promises to get him a record deal before then. His lead is a producer who is going to be at a show, then a party, then an after party, then, then, then. The majority of the movie, after a promising first act, consists of the two leads going from place to place trying to track this man down. Well, Jeff is chasing him, OH! is following him and also trying to get with Jeff’s sister, Alicia (Shelley Hennig), who just so happens to be on the nightlife same path.
It gets boring and repetitive after a while, and the lack of drive from one of its protagonists cheapens the quest. If the person who wants to be a rapper doesn’t really seem to want to be a rapper, then why should we care about the group’s journey to try to make him a rapper? The film isn’t terribly interested in dealing with his internal struggle and resignation, either. Part of that might be because Harvey isn’t a very strong actor, but the bigger problem is the lack of character he’s given to work with. The elements are there, but they’re underutilized.
Even its arcs and eventual platitudes are lackluster. OH! has to learn to be more confident in his own abilities—which happens over the course of about two scenes; he spends the rest of the time moping. Meanwhile, Jeff has to learn to be less of a wannabe try-hard—the old “be yourself” lesson—which he learns thanks to one conversation and then only kind of puts into practice. Those are decent ideas to deliver to your audience, but they’re told to the characters briefly and ineffectually, and we don’t really get to see them factor in.
The people who will like this movie are those who are big into the hip-hop scene. It has a lot of references and cameos that they’ll enjoy. The rapping scenes are really good; I wish there were more of them, overall. While Harvey may not be the best actor, he really does deliver in these segments. Holzer isn’t very strong, either, by the way—there’s almost no emotion in the movie (even in scenes where there’s supposed to be); it’s just a ton of stone-faced line-reading.
The After Party is a movie that barely has a plot, follows a couple of lackluster-at-best characters, and tries to impart lessons on its audience that it doesn’t feel like showing us. It has a few good rapping sequences, and all of the hip-hop references and cameos will delight fans of the genre, but as a movie it can’t be called much of a success.
Conclusion: The After Party lacks in too many areas to be worth your time.
Recommendation: Only fans of the music will want to put on The After Party.