By Monique Jones,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Comedy about Juneteeth celebration has strong language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Creating something meaningful isn't always easy; sometimes it takes perseverance to reach a complex goal. Familial bonds can strengthen with clear communication and empathy.
Positive Role Models
Keke perseveres through challenges of running the block party. She meets the challenge of going against her domineering mother, Tasha; ultimately, they empathize with each other after realizing they've both been feeling unheard -- Keke by her mother and Tasha by Keke's grandmother, Janice. All three generations come together and use communication and empathy to understand one another's positions.
Main cast is almost entirely Black, with one Asian American character. The director is a Black woman. With exception of one character (Ben), White characters are used mostly for humor or sly social commentary (e.g., a character who claims to be a friend to the Black community but is actually fleecing them out of their homes with awful financial schemes, a "Karen" fire marshal who's forced to come to terms with her glee at wanting to shut down the Juneteenth party). One character is suffering from early stages of dementia; it's treated respectfully on the whole, but film does play certain situations for (mostly tasteful) humor. While the film centers on Black culture, some humor and relatability may feel a little stale/shallow for Black audiences; it seems geared more toward surface-level conversations about Blackness in America than showcasing something truly authentic.
Inclusion information: Black directors, Black actors
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Violence & Scariness
Comedic violence, such as a car ramming into a stage. Keke's mom holds a gun due to her job as a sheriff (or sheriff's deputy).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual humor and innuendo. Sexual language such as "p---y."
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Language includes "damn," "hell," "s--t," "smartass," "ass," "motherf----r," "p---y," "bitch," and a use of "crazy," which could be seen as ableist. Exclamatory use of "oh my God."
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Products & Purchases
Mentions of Michael Kors flats and Cheetos.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention and use of CBD massage oil, mention of vodka.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Block Party is a comedy about a young woman named Keke (Antoinette Robertson) who takes on the task of organizing her grandmother's yearly Juneteenth block party while dealing with her mother's expectations. Expect strong language ("s--t," "motherf----r," "p---y," and more), comedic violence, sexual humor/innuendo, and mentions of substances like CBD oil and vodka. While the film seems geared more toward surface-level conversations about Blackness in America than showcasing something truly authentic, characters do demonstrate perseverance, communication, and empathy.
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What's the Story?
BLOCK PARTY makes a Juneteenth celebration the focal point of a mother and daughter who are trying to bond. Keke (Antoinette Robertson), a young woman who's been forced to be the best at everything by her mother, Tasha (Golden Brooks), decides to upend her mother's plans and help her ailing grandmother, Janice (Margaret Avery), throw her annual Juneteenth block party. But the challenge includes more than just setting up tents and hiring a DJ, as Tasha does her best to control her daughter's life by any means necessary.
Is It Any Good?
This comedy is a perfectly fine film to watch if you want a little diversion or a lighthearted way to celebrate Juneteenth. Overall, the cast is competent, providing a sense of fun and joy to the film. Black Hollywood mainstays like Gary Anthony Williams, Luenell, Bill Cobbs, John Amos, Faizon Love, Felonious Munk, and Merle Dandridge get to shine as members of Keke's family and community. But certain characterizations leave something to be desired. And it's a bit disappointing that Block Party seems to tilt more toward social media's view of Blackness than a more authentic take on Black culture. Perhaps it's because the film was produced by Buzzfeed that Block Party feels like it's more for a younger, "hashtag-woke" audience, with buzzwords and hot topic conversations about topics like reparations, Black hair politics, the "Black card," "Karens," and predatory lending interspersed throughout the film. Just because a film mentions lots of buzzy topics doesn't mean it's actually interested in investigating the discussions behind these words and ideas.
To be fair, the film does villainize those who prey on the Black community, which is appreciated. But the film's view of Blackness seems too surface level to feel truly authentic. On a character level, Tasha is the only one who's nearly unbearable to watch. Brooks plays her well, but Tasha's characterization is thinly written, and her control-freak tendencies become more incomprehensible as the film goes on. Making matters worse, her husband, Sean (Williams), is vastly underwritten as a happy-go-lucky dad. Both the easygoing father archetype and the controlling mother archetype are tired -- turning a mom into a baddie for trying to do right by her child is boring and reductionist at this point. Still, on the whole, Block Party is the type of film that you can put on to turn your brain off and relax.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the importance of Juneteenth. What does the holiday mean to Black Americans? Why is the holiday important to Keke's family specifically?
How are issues related to race portrayed in the film? Why do diverse representations matter in the media?
How do characters demonstrate perseverance, empathy, and communication?
What generational issues did Keke and her mother face?
How does the film find humor in tough topics?
- In theaters: June 8, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: June 16, 2022
- Cast: Antoinette Robertson, Margaret Avery, Golden Brooks, Gary Anthony Williams
- Director: Dawn Wilkinson
- Inclusion Information: Black directors, Black actors
- Studios: Buzzfeed Studios, BET+
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Communication, Empathy, Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 8, 2022
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