[box cover]

Party Girl

She may be indie royalty now, but way back in the mid-'90s Parker Posey was still waiting for her breakthrough. There'd been a soap stint, a small part in Dazed and Confused, and a Sleepless in Seattle appearance that ended up on the cutting room floor; not exactly the stuff of which stardom is born. Then came Party Girl (1995). As aimless Manhattan club kid Mary, Posey mixes her trademark edge with an appealing vulnerability, creating a realistic portrait of a twenty-something girl who doesn't quite know who she is or where she's going. In fact, the only thing Mary does know is what to wear. Her shabby loft overflows with designer duds, and she's always dressed in vibrant mixtures of colors, patterns, and fabrics. It's a talent that serves Mary well in her nighttime clubbing escapades, but it doesn't go over quite as well in the public-library job she finds herself stuck in after her godmother Judy (Sasha von Scherler) bails her out of jail and refuses to float her a loan. Petulant, rude, and apathetic, Mary drifts through her days at the library resentfully, chatting up cute falafel vendor Mustafa (Omar Townsend) on her lunch breaks and living for quitting time, when she can go home and get ready to go out for the evening. It's only when Judy berates her and calls her stupid that Mary is finally galvanized into action: She becomes a master of the Dewey Decimal System and realizes that she actually has a talent for the whole library thing. Now she just has to convince Judy... not to mention pay her back rent and convince Mustafa that she's really the girl for him. Posey makes Mary's transition into maturity and (semi-)adulthood wholly convincing, which, in turn, makes Party Girl more than just a fun piece of fluff. Like Reality Bites before it, Party Girl adeptly captures the challenges facing the well-educated, overly enfranchised upper-middle-class youth of Gens X and Y; with so many options and opportunities to choose from, a kind of apathetic paralysis can set in, making it near impossible to actually pick something. That Mary manages to find her calling is almost as much of a triumph as her choosing the right outfit to wear to a club opening. Columbia TriStar's DVD release of Party Girl offers the film in a digitally mastered full-frame transfer (1.33:1); the colors of Mary's wardrobe look good, but it's too bad a widescreen version wasn't included as well. Audio options include a nice English Dolby 2.0 Surround track and English and Spanish subtitles. Trailers, keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech

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