"Marred by Gratuitous, Graphic, Lewd Obscenity"
Set in 1977 London, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES is a comical science fiction movie about a young punk rock fan falling in love with a strange girl from outer space, who travels with a bizarre group of aliens who have a terrible secret. HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES is often winsome and sometimes touching, with some unique twists and moral elements, but it contains gratuitous obscenities and nudity, along with a few disgusting lewd moments.
The movie is set in 1977 during the 25th Anniversary celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. It opens with an older teenager named Enn spending his nights with his two classmates at local punk rock venues in Croydon, a large town in south London. The local punk impresario is a woman who calls herself Queen Boadicea, after the Celtic leader who led a rebellion against the Roman Empire in 60 or 61 A.D.
One night, Enn and his two buddies, Victor and John, go looking for an after-hours punk party, but they get lost. Hearing some strange, captivating music, they stumble upon a large house containing a weird group of beautiful and handsome teenagers and young adults with American accents having a strange party with a few older adults who seem to be chaperones or leaders. The strangers are dressed in different primary colors, including white. Some of them seem to be performing acrobatic stunts, while others seem to be dancing strangely or loafing around the house. Also, one group of girls wear orange outfits with clear latex material exposing their breasts. Victor disappears with one of the girls, while John starts copying the dancers, and Enn wanders around.
After talking with one strange but pretty teenage girl dressed in blue who has two fingers of her right hand fused together, Enn runs into a beautiful blonde girl in a yellow dress who calls herself Zan. Enn and Zan clearly hit it off. However, when Zan wants to explore the punk rock scene with Enn, the leader of her yellow “colony,” a slightly older fellow named Waldo, nixes the idea, saying it would be a “violation.” When Zan insists, he relents and gives her 48 hours to return and join their group in the “Eating” ritual before they have to leave. Zan calls Waldo and the other older aliens, one of whom is an elderly transsexual man dressed and coiffed like an elderly woman, “Parent-Teachers.”
Enn and Zan embark on a two-day adventure in the kinetic world of punk rock. The next morning, Zan meets Enn’s quirky mother. She and Enn were abandoned years ago by Enn’s father, a musician, when Enn was a boy.
Meanwhile, Enn’s two friends begin to think Zan and her people belong to some kind of religious cult from California. However, they’re really a group of six small, self-cannibalizing alien “colonies” from outer space.
Unlike his first two movies, Director John Cameron Mitchell’s new movie is not totally abhorrent. In fact, at its center is a beautiful and winsome, though bizarre, romance about two star-crossed young lovers. Inserted into this ROMEO & JULIET plot is lots of humor and some touching moments. That said, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES also contains many gratuitous obscenities, explicit nudity and a few tasteless lewd scenes.
Two different philosophies fight for the viewer’s attention in HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES. On one side is the movie’s depiction of the budding punk rock scene, which involves overt statements favoring anarchy, freedom and nihilism. On the other side is the movie’s Romantic depiction of Enn and Zan’s love story, which would appear to contradict the punk rock values mentioned in the movie.
A lot more interesting is the movie’s moral development. [SPOILERS FOLLOW] A speech near the end by the alien group’s elderly leader reveals that the six alien colonies in the movie come from six planets where the aliens destroyed their planet through overpopulation and by consuming all their planet’s resources. The leader’s solution to this self-destruction is cannibalism. The “Parent-Teacher” leaders in each colony eat their children if they reach a certain age and don’t have any children of their own. By the end of the movie, however, some of the Parent-Teachers, because of their encounter with the Earth people in Croydon, decide they want to end this awful practice. The Parent-Teachers take a vote, but the vote ends up in a tie. The solution to resolve the tie leads to a bittersweet but very poignant and ultimately uplifting ending for the two lovers, especially Enn.
The movie’s ending resolves the conflict between the anarchy and nihilism of the punk rock world and the emotional, sentimental, selfish desires unleashed by the romance between Enn and Zan. Even better, the movie’s ending is a strong rebuke to the evil environmentalist cannibalism and evil ecological madness of the elderly leader of the six alien colonies who decided to visit England during the 25th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s II’s reign.
Even so, despite its morally uplifting ending, the gratuitous foul language, lewd behavior and explicit nudity in HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES seriously mar the story and greatly undermine its positive moments.
On a side note, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES comes from a short story by acclaimed fantasy and science fiction writer Neil Gaiman, who created an unbiblical depiction of Lucifer or Satan in a comic book series (1989-1996) called THE SANDMAN. One of the motifs in Gaiman’s work is a tendency to take pagan mythological archetypes and twist them to make some Non-Christian or even Anti-Christian points. For instance, in his novel AMERICAN GODS, Gaiman inserts a version of the Norse god Odin that the Vikings clearly borrowed from Christianity. Gaiman falsely suggests this Odin story predated Christianity, but it didn’t. This tendency is less of a problem in this movie, but MOVIEGUIDE® wants to make readers aware of this issue in Gaiman’s work, because Hollywood is beginning to turn more and more to Gaiman’s work to create new movies and TV programs. Happily, Fox-TV just canceled its misleading, heretical series of Gaiman’s Lucifer character where Satan becomes the hedonistic hero and the God of the Bible is evil.
Set in 1977 London, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES is a weird, comical science fiction movie. One night, an older teenager and punk rock fan named Enn (E-n-n) and his two school chums run into a strange party featuring a weird group of beautiful and handsome teenagers and young adults with American accents. Dressed in primary colors, the youths act like strange aliens from outer space. They are in fact aliens from six different planets visiting Earth before completing a mysterious rite of passage. That doesn’t stop Enn from falling for one beautiful alien girl with blonde hair. She and Enn embark on a two-day adventure in the kinetic world of punk rock. Meanwhile, Enn’s two friends begin to think these weird people belong to some kind of religious cult from California.
HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES is sometimes deliciously funny, winsome and poignant. It has an uplifting ending that’s rather touching, though bittersweet. However, it’s greatly diminished by wholly gratuitous foul language, lewd behavior, and explicit nudity. So, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES is unacceptable entertainment.