Victoria Justice toplines the harmless Afterlife of the Party
Former Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice continues to shift towards more adult roles in director Stephen Herek's Afterlife of the Party for Netflix. Cassie (Victoria Justice) is a social butterfly who lives to the fullest. Cassie's life involves nonstop clubbing and partying. So much so that she turns up for her entire birthday week with a term she's coined Cassie-paloza. Lisa (Midori Francis) is her long-suffering best friend/roommate who wants Cassie to slow down and mature.
After a night of excessive partying, Cassie experiences the most major party foul of all time. She ends up dying during her birthday week. To her surprise, an angel named Val (Robyn Scott) informs Cassie that she must earn her pass into heaven and only has four days to complete the mission. Cassie hopes to correct her wrongs on Earth by reconnecting with loved ones now that she has a second chance. She must reconnect with Lisa, her dad Howie (Adam Garcia), and Sofia (Gloria Gacia), her mother. More importantly, Cassie hopes to prove that she's worthy enough to get into that big VIP room in the sky.
Victoria Justice has had an almost two-decades-long acting career; however, I was never in her demographic given my age. The first time I saw Justice act was in the film Trust earlier this year. Justice showed promise in that film, so I was willing to give Afterlife of the Party a look.
The script for Afterlife of the Party arrives from Carrie Freedle. Her two previous films include the Hallmark television film My Secret Valentine and Winter Love. Therefore, Afterlife of the Party does have a made-for-television feel. Despite its predictability, the film's strength is in the friendship between our two female leads Victoria Justice and Midori Francis.
Their chemistry comes off as natural as opposed to forced. The clichéd love story arc that Midori Francis has with a neighbor is cute to watch, and Justice is having a great time playing matchmaker. I also found that Cassie's angle regarding her parents worked well and shows that Victoria Justice has some range given the right material.
Director Stephen Herek keeps the film's run time gliding at a quick pace. To my surprise, he avoids any moments of physical laughs or any other kind of humor a movie of this sort usually entails. While there aren't any laughs in the film, it did keep my attention for the run time.
Afterlife of the Party doesn't break any new ground, which is fine. However, the film has a solid heart, so I will recommend it for those who enjoy sentimental movies.
Final Grade: B-
Afterlife of the Party is streaming on NETFLIX now