Parents' Guide to

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Aliens, sex, and punk in offbeat potential cult classic.

Movie R 2018 102 minutes
How to Talk to Girls at Parties Poster Image

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This punk sci-fi movie suffers a bit from stretching a short story to feature length, and it sometimes has a queasy quality, but otherwise it has everything it needs to become a cult classic. Based on a wonderful 2006 short story by Neil Gaiman, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is quite different from other works based on Gaiman stories (including MirrorMask, Stardust, and Coraline) in that it's more mature -- and much weirder. But when it focuses on Enn as a regular, confused kid who's trying to figure things out through art and music, it sparks to life.

Director John Cameron Mitchell, who made the now-cult-classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, brings his unique, experimental touches to the movie, with unusual rock-'n'-roll fantasy sequences and more offbeat sexuality. The through line of the longer, main story doesn't always click -- it sometimes lacks drive -- but the wild, bizarre images that support it are always fascinating, from the aliens' costumes and odd grasp of language to the breathless world of punk rock music. Sometimes these scenes can make you feel a bit trippy, but -- like somewhat similar cult classics The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Repo Man, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Hedwig itself -- it's all in the name of thinking outside the box.

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