These last few weeks have been full of shooting, preparing for finals, and binging documentaries. After two docs in a row (plus Wild Wild Country) I decided to mix it up, and instead of seeing Pope Francis: A Man of His Word I saw How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
I hadn't heard of it, but I figured what the hell. After all, I do love Elle Fanning.
After reading a short description online summarizing the punk-meets-alien plot I was totally sold. I was expecting a delightful teenage romance story embellished with mild violence and steeped in pop culture references. I was wrong. I was so wrong.
Before we get to any certified spoilers™ I want to say, please don't spend money on this movie. Wait for it to come out bc tbh it was borderline traumatic.
okay, check it:
Right so the film opens up with this weird, yet engaging animation featuring like 5 different colored orbs. Rad. Then there's this odd little black thing (think the coal spirits from Spirited Away) that interrupts the yellow orb and starts to tap it. As an audience member I immediately thought the lil sea urchin son bitch was humping the little orby thing, but then I thought I was just being a perv. Flash forward, the animation is actually a dream that protagonist had and once he (the protagonist) is likened to the ferrofluid ass thingy and his love interest (played by Elle Fanning) is revealed to be the yellow orbby do dad, I was for sure convinced that it was, in fact, a bumping of uglies that occured.
I guess somewhere along the line SOOOMEONE thought it wasn't clear enough so they repeated the dream sequence, little black orby guy is getting his hump on and BAM BING BANG it fucking ejaculates and then GTFOs. Like first of all, rude, you do not just get to leave you prick, and second WE GET IT OH GOD WE UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE, DEAR LORD WHY??? WHY DID U DO THAT??
So yeah. Not a fan.
The entire film had very sexually explicit overtones, which is totally chill, don't get me wrong I'm all about hot alien sex. But the actual identity of the film got so convoluted within the attempted sexiness that the result was a bunch of middle school one liners that were not even that funny, plus two or three very uncomfortable sex scenes. And once again, don't get me wrong ya girl loves a good one liner, but the emphasis is on the middle school part as in I am an adult who is well aware of what sex is, dear lord you do not have to spell it out.
And let's talk story.
The idea of a bunch of aliens and punks coming together is great, absolutely love it. As someone who nuts for aliens and also went through a pretty sad punk phase, I was for sure the target demographic for the film. In execution, it was boring as hell. You would think for a film so blatantly about sex there would at least be a rewarding climax.
ba dum, tssssssss
The overall pacing was monotonous for me, mostly due to the fact that the climbing action was minute, the stakes were low low low, and you never really understood what was in it for anyone, just that this sad boy punk kid was in love with an alien.
Like yes, love is a powerful force that makes us do crazy things but the sheer amount of unexplored characterization for both the protagonists left me wanting much, much more.
For all it's flaws, there were some silver linings that prevented me from leaving the theater halfway through. First of all, though the character was written as a pretty shallow husk in my opinion, Elle Fanning did shine very vibrantly as a quirky and cute, rebellious alien. I was also a fan of most of the costume design, and while the plot itself was terrible the dedication brought by all actors was soothing.
For better or for worse, I watched How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and I learned absolutely nothing about talking to girls at parties.