Blu-ray Review: Party Girl [Fun City Editions] | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, December 1st, 2023  

Party Girl

Studio: Fun City Editions

Mar 27, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Mary’s a frugal fashionista adrift in a life of overdue rent and all-night dance parties. Her godmother, Judy, bails her out of jail when she’s arrested for turning her grungy loft into a pop-up nightclub, and then strong-arms her into taking on a clerk’s position at the New York Public Library. Mary eventually comes around to approach the unglamorous work as a personal challenge, but balancing her newfound responsibility with an unrelenting nightlife is an even bigger hurdle than she realized.

Anyone who spent their early adult life in a big, busy city had at least one friend like Parker Posey’s Mary—or maybe even was that person for a while. They were constantly in motion, hip to all of the happenings, and two steps ahead of all trends. This person never missed a party (fashionably showing up three hours late) despite being perpetually busy, yet would still be the person you could rely on to take your +1 admission to any show. They were friends with everybody who was anybody, and the shared link between social circles that never would have crossed over otherwise. Yet, no one could ever get a gauge on how this person was doing—how they were really doing—because according to them, they were always doing G-R-E-A-T . . . even when they were barely holding their shit together.

Party Girl is as much about the world and characters around Mary as it is her coming of age as an aspiring librarian. Inspired by the early ‘90s NYC club scene and populated with many of its regular inhabitants, Party Girl has a vibrant pulse and moves to a danceable rhythm. Some of its most memorable characters include Mary’s couch-crasher, Leo (Guillermo Diaz), a wannabe DJ with no work experience but a massive record collection; Rene (Donna Mitchell), an intimidating club owner and scene influencer; and Judy (Sasha von Scherler, the director’s mother), Mary’s doting-to-overbearing parental surrogate with some very strong opinions about the library sciences. There’s also Mustafa (Omar Townsend), a Lebanese falafel cart proprietor earning money to send to his family back home, who becomes the object of Mary’s relentless affection. A screwball comedy at heart, Party Girl flits between these characters’ connected stories like its youthful leads bounce from one exclusive club to the next.

With a sense of humor that gets screwier as the movie goes on, Party Girl is light, likeable, and highly quotable. It’s also a star-making turn for Parker Posey, whose Mary isn’t always sympathetic yet is unwaveringly magnetic when instilled with her particular idiosyncrasies. It’s hard to imagine any other actor who could have made this role work as well as she does.

Fun City’s new Blu-ray release of Party Girl comes with many really nice featurettes, including new interviews with Posey and director/co-writer Daisy von Scherler Mayer, who is quite candid about her influences and the challenges of financing the feature. Also giving on-camera interviews are screenwriter Harry Birckmayer and music supervisor Bill Coleman—the latter providing insight into Party Girl’s mid-‘90s dance club soundtrack. Other bonus materials include a commentary from Jake Fogelnest, a trailer and image gallery, and a booklet essay by Margaret Barton-Fumo.

Party Girl has its legion of ardent admirers who, judging by how quickly the limited slipcover sold out, don’t need to be sold on this release. For anyone on the fence—or hasn’t seen Party Girl in decades, and is considering a revisit—you can still grab a copy of the FCE’s standard edition, which has all of the excellent bonus features described above. It’s likely that Party Girl will be even better than you remember.



Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.