This Mario Van Peebles directed project can be easily dismissed as just another teenage comedy where a group of high-schoolers planning a party encounter problems, but it deals with a variety of subjects that include safe sex, teen drinking, prejudice and good grades.
Starring, Michael Jai White, Salli Richardson-Whitfield and Moises Arias, the movie chronicles the adventures of five tightly-knit friends as they plot to lose their virginity, out-maneuver the school bullies and take the girls of their dreams to prom. Tensions mount when it’s suspected one of the students has stolen the money set aside for the prom. With the event about to be cancelled and police on the scene, the students turn on each other…only to learn that things are seldom what they appear.
Unlike most teenage movies, which attempt to impose some kind of adult order, this movie is a realistic depiction of teen life and shows teenagers as they are not as adults would like them to be.
“Teenagers are at the center of a seismic cultural shift,” says writer/director Mario Van Peebles, who funded the movie without the backing of a major Hollywood studio. “Their world is changing fast, from their music to their dancing, jerking, twerking, skateboarding, dating and facebooking.”
For Van Peebles, the idea for the project came after he had a chance to hang out with his son and daughter, Mandela and Maya, who also star in the movie.
“My kids maneuvered me into letting them throw an “epic” party at our house. This monster kick back became the basis for the movie as they had over four hundred teens of all colors partying hard at our crib. I walked around like a middle-aged paparazzi videotaping and taking notes like a madman and let my kids play the roles they helped create,” says Van Peebles.
Set amidst the latest trends in music, dance and fashion, and featuring performances from YG, The New Boyz and The Rej3ctz, “We the Party” was filmed on location in one of Los Angeles’ tougher areas, the fictional “Baldwin Hills High School” and features a broad cross-section of teens from different races.
There is a lot of energy and exuberance and a joy of living being celebrated here. All of the performances are good and the soundtrack pulses with humor as well. There are the usual beer-drinking and sexual experiences associated with teen comedies, but what is most appealing about this movie and what sets it apart from many movies in the same genre, is the moral message at play, and the fact the movie’s main character is trying to get his grades up.
A product overdue in the market, “We the Party” is loud, hip and vibrant.