Netflix’s latest hip hop drama, The After Party, is like an annoying teen comedy — it’s repetitive, unrealistic and lacks focus.
With big star cameos including Wiz Khalifa, DJ Khaled and Desiigner, The After Party sounds promising, but somehow misses the beat in a span of just 89 minutes. It’s not that The After Party lacks quality moments — it’s that the characters and side plots are nothing more than unrealistic and overused tropes.
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The movie opens in a whitewashed bathroom as protagonist and aspiring rapper Owen raps through a bathroom stall to the conniving intern of famous producer, Rahmel, in the hopes of signing a record deal. It’s a powerful opening scene, until viewers learn that Owen and his manager Jeff are only high school students.
The After Party follows Jeff’s attempt to change Owen’s public image after he projectile vomits on Wiz Khalifa at a concert and becomes the internet sensation known as “Seezjahboy.” Along the way, the pair encounter insane gangsters, badass strippers and bizarre drag race altercations.
There’s something unsettling not only about the age of the characters but also their motives. The characters spend a majority of the movie trying drugs, drinking alcohol and visiting strip clubs and bars when they’re clearly under the age of 21.
Like in every teen dramedy, there’s a pair of dissimilar bros, a girl and an unrealistic yet somehow just-barely-reachable goal. There’s a predictable fight sequence that leads to a climatic falling out and a life-or-death situation that somehow brings the estranged characters back together.
Jeff is a privileged and arrogant kid from Westchester who has daddy issues and a trust fund. He’s the charismatic rich boy with a Harvard degree coming his way and zero real-world problems to deal with. Jeff is a sense of motivation for Owen — he invests in his prodigy and inspires him — but it’s confusing how someone his age is taken seriously by A-list celebrities.
On the other hand, there’s Owen, the cliché awkward, pessimistic and self-conscious kid who lacks faith in his own abilities. He’s talented, smart and gives off serious Drake vibes but spends a majority of the movie trying to get with Jeff’s older sister instead of focusing on his own personal goals.
At times it seems as if Jeff is more invested in Owen’s dream than Owen is himself. Jeff calls in favors, speaks with managers and sets Owen up with backstage passes to a French Montana show. But, like every other teen movie, Owen puts the girl first, misses numerous chances to make up for his mistakes, yet somehow in the last second, he manages to have everything fall into place.
Owen and The After Party not only set an unsettling example for teens, but somehow make hardwork and the the hip-hop industry look like nothing more than a joke.