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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages of African American empowerment throughout. Knowledge is power. Importance of learning about history to understand one's roots and the present, how to learn from the past when faced with similar issues in the future. African American female empowerment is highlighted: learning to assert one's talents and not back down in male-dominated society.
Positive Role Models
Kid goes off to college with tuition check of money raised by his church congregation. Despite his many distractions, he learns about important African American thinkers from history, begins to see connections between their words and his life. Zora talks about importance of being a strong African American woman in face of sexism and racism in society, of being an activist in the community. Sydney learns from Zora but also learns it's better to be herself rather than emulating Zora's style and personality.
Messages of African American empowerment that Kid and Sydney take to heart as they both start off in college. Lead female African American characters are strong and independent, active and engaged in their communities, but secondary female characters (and villain) are little more than sex objects. An African American student who works as an administrator for the White dean tells Kid that it's better to pretend to be something you're not in order to "play the White man's game" but is soon shown to be a false friend to Kid, is later stopped while committing sexual assault at a party. Kid's roommate is a White rapper who "talks Black" but over time moves past this two-dimensional character trope to be a real friend to Kid.
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Violence & Scariness
At a party, an older college student who is attracted to Sydney tries to drag her away from a party against her will before he's stopped by Kid and his friends. Kid and Play get into a slapstick fight (not shown) that results in implied injury to the face (not shown) as they nurse their wounds afterward. A trio of bumbling security guards stop Kid and his roommate and eventually punch and throw them around.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual content, humor, innuendo throughout. Play shown having sex with a woman in Kid's dorm (no nudity, but lots of sound). Characters have loud sex behind a record store counter. A character hides under the bed while a man and woman have loud sex above him, mattress bouncing into his face as man above shouts "Give me that good college p---y!" Record store clerk answers the phone and says, "I got the twelve-inch that you need." Kid walks into his girlfriend's dorm, shows an assortment of colorful condoms, and asks, "Which color?" Men shown grabbing their crotches and making lewd remarks at a party as attractive women walk by. Play's car has a personalized license plate that reads "FORPLAY." In recurring joke, a record store clerk makes a masturbation gesture with his hand in response to the conversation going on around him.
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Constant profanity. "F--k" and "motherf----r" used a lot. Also "p---y," "bulls--t," "dogs--t," "d--k," "ass," "hell," "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Guy at a party drinks from a flask and gives it to Sydney. Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that House Party 2 is a 1992 comedy in which Kid and Play must find a way to ensure Kid stays in college after his tuition check is stolen by a con artist. Throughout the moments of slapstick, bawdy humor, and one-liners are positive messages about African American empowerment; the importance of learning not only for its own sake, but also for developing a deeper understanding of one's background to understand the challenges of the present and the demands of the future; and being true to yourself. There's also strong sexual content throughout, and while there are messages and examples of being a strong woman, outside of the two female lead characters, the secondary female characters and the villain tend to be sex objects who dance around in pajamas, sit in cars blowing kisses, or have sex in hopes of getting a record contract. Play is shown having loud sex in Kid's dorm room (no nudity). A record store clerk has loud sex behind the counter of the store (no nudity). While hiding under a bed, one of the lead characters feels the mattress push against his face when a man and woman have sex above him, as the older man says things like, "Give me that good college p---y." At a large party, an upperclassman who has been trying to date Kid's girlfriend gives her sips from a flask and tries to forcibly pull her away from the party despite her saying no, before he's stopped by Kid and his friends. The movie has sexual innuendo throughout, frequent profanity (including "f--k" and "motherf----r"), cigar smoking, and brief fistfights that are comically exaggerated. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Those expecting a sequel of '90s kitsch and slapstick comedy are likely to be surprised by the relevant themes and positive messages woven throughout the movie. For all of its bawdy comedy and goofy slapstick, House Party 2 contains messages on African American empowerment (and the empowerment of African American women as well), with the backdrop of college used as a way to amplify the messages of the leading African American thinkers, writers, and activists of the 20th century. It conveys these messages without being heavy-handed, and there are many insightful and provocative takeaways from the movie delivered through song or college lecture. The screenwriters didn't have to do this, as audiences would generally be OK with Kid 'n Play getting into comedic hijinks between musical interludes, but the fact that they did keeps this movie from being just another sequel filled with early '90s fashion and dance moves.
That said, there are aspects to the movie that show its age. While the lead female characters are presented as strong, capable, and independent women, the secondary characters and the villain are pretty much just sex objects, or motivated solely by greed or the chance for fame. It tends to contradict the positive messages of African American feminism, as these secondary characters are often little more than eye-candied punchlines. Nonetheless, it's a surprisingly thoughtful movie, one that strikes an effective balance between over-the-top comedy and these more serious messages.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.