REVIEW: Party Central [2014]

Score: 4/10 | ★ ½

Rating: PG | Runtime: 6 minutes | Release Date: March 21st, 2014 (USA)
Studio: Pixar Animation Studios / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director(s): Kelsey Mann
Writer(s): Kelsey Mann

“Operation Party Central is a go”

Turning to frat house humor for Monsters University was to me the largest misstep in Pixar Animation’s history. It took one of the studio’s most original worlds and made it into a gag to be blindly consumed by fans of Monsters Inc.‘s heart only to scratch their heads wondering how anyone could think this would be a viable avenue for children’s fare. Even so, I’m hardly surprised they decided to continue this line of thinking for their newest short film Party Central despite its depiction of “reckless behavior” earning the first PG in the Walt Disney offshoot’s history. This is for all intents and purposes a college kegger reappropriated for family consumption and I honestly can’t fathom the process in which that was deemed a smart idea.

The short isn’t without its charm, however, as writer/director Kelsey Mann does find a way to transform the monsters’ door docking system for traveling to our universe into a party trick. The brainchild of Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman), their idea is to ‘steal’ fellow frat house ROR’s shindig by placing one door there and another at Oozma Kappa. With both portals affixed to the bedroom of a human couple to facilitate the movement of guests, food, and fun from ROR to OK, the Squibbles’ home becomes a raging mass of screaming, drinking, and shenanigans. And once Sherri (Julia Sweeney) arrives with her laundry in-hand, her decision to join the carnage rather than send everyone home provides one more bad example for young kids to laugh at despite not fully understanding the joke.

Displaying the epic party Oozma Kappa hinted at in Monsters University is a weird premise for impressionable children because no ten-year old is clamoring for the experience. It’s more gimmick than anything else too as its steady stream of transferences from one house to the other becomes a repetitive series of loud noises and blinking lights with the only true laugh coming at the expense of the unwitting couple trying to sleep in the middle. It doesn’t have two legs to stand on without knowledge of the film it follows and truly does nothing to enhance its world or characters. Party Central should have remained a DVD extra like originally planned rather than taking the spot of an original idea with substance—you know, the stuff Pixar once had an impeccable track record of supplying.

courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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