Afterlife of the Party
by Stephen HerekFriends Lisa (Midori Francis) and Cassie (Victoria Justice) are drifting apart. Lisa is a studious archaeologist who works hard, while Cassie the party planner likes to have fun, mix, and party until the early hours. Then Cassie dies in a freak accident. But that's not quite the end: Cassie is tasked with putting things right with those she left behind. As a ghost, she only has five days to settle her unfinished business with those closest to her. If she succeeds, she gets to ascend to heaven; but if she fails, her destination will be the fiery pit. It's like one of those cheesy televised competitions for baking or dancing, except this time it's for haunting.
Cassie's relationships are all too shallow, whether it's with her friends or close family. So she has her work cut out to understand with those people on her list need. Moreover, as a ghost there are only very limited ways that she can communicate with the people she needs to help. But if she can't make a connection and fix what's wrong, she's in trouble. Cassie has neglected her father, she resented her mother for divorcing her dad and leaving them both, and she argued with her best friend. So there are themes of grief, guilt, and the power of loss to stop people in their tracks.
It may sound like pretty heavy stuff, but Afterlife of the Party is a comedy, and a cute, sugar-coated one to boot. So the soul-searching and redemption comes with a sprinkle of matchmaking, makeovers, sweet scenes and sparkly outfit changes. The full intensity of this story is focused on warming hearts.
Cassie has a mentor, her guardian angel Val (Robyn Scott). I found this character far too nice. She gives Cassie the bad news about her death very softly. There's no tension or sass in the relationship between Val and Cassie, and had there been it would have made the dialogue more spicy and the plot less predictable.
As a hedonistic party girl, Cassie is also quite tame. Had she been more selfish to begin with, and more reckless, then her journey to redemption may have been more meaningful. Instead, she seems like a nice person who made some small mistakes, rather than a character on a steep learning curve who needs to change radically before she can succeed.
This movie is as cute as a litter of puppies, and it is emotionally undemanding. The story is clear, and the main character's journey makes sense and is well structured. If what you're in the mood for is a light and fluffy fantasy, it's decent comfort viewing.
20th June 2022
Review © Ros Jackson
Source: Netflix streaming