Party Girl (1995): Parker Posey in Star-Making Performance

Sundance Film Fest 1995–The search for modern protagonists motivated female directors to revisit the past as well as the present.  Unlike most of Hollywood’s Gen-X movies, which center on guys, Daisy von Scherier Mayer’s Party Girl revolves around a femme and feels as if it were made by an insider.

The film world premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Fest, in the dramatic competition, making an instant star of Parker Posey.

Mary (Posey) may be considered a modern version of Breakfast in Tiffany’s Holly Golightly: By days, she works as a library clerk, by night, she’s queen of the club scene. A camp diva blessed with cool deadpan and funkiness, Mary is essentially good girl whose “badness” is a pose.

At heart, the movie is an earnest coming-of-age saga: When Mary finally breaks the ancient code of the Dewey Decimal System, it opens her life, she experiences an epiphany. In a flash of inspiration, she arranges the record-album collection of her deejay roommate.

Party Girl is meant to be a Desperately Seeking Susan for the 1990s, with the same hip Downtown sensibility. Reflecting the zeitgeist, Mayer and co-writer Harry Brickmayer depict Manhattan as a multi-cultural milieu: Mary is attracted to a Lebanese falafel vendor, Mustafa; her roommate, Leo, is Latino; her friend, Rene, is gay, the club is predominantly black.

Slight and inconsequential, Party Girl is a superficial portrait of New York nightlife, too cheerful and self-pleased to pursue any issue. Mayer shows no sense of comic pacing, imposing on the film a moralistic tone that sends Mary on a soul-search for her responsible side.

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