Party Monster
Directors: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green, Dylan McDermott, Wilson Cruz, Wilmer Valderrama, ChloŽ Sevigny, Diana Scarwid, Natasha Lyonne, Mia Kirshner, Marilyn Manson. Screenplay: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (based on the book Disco Bloodbath by James St. James).

Party Monster offers itself, sluttishly, in the guise of a camp document-cum-morality play in which the spoiled, substance-addled Disco Kids of an early '90s New York club scene flounce around in outrageous costumes until one of them commits a murder. Let us say nothing of the violent climax, in which a homicide that is barely motivated in either personal or dramatic terms is filmed from the point of view of a rat crouching beneath a radiator: viva RodentCam! Let us say just as little of the embarrassingly, stultifyingly lifeless performances of Macaulay Culkin (as Michael Alig, the impresariette turned killer) or Seth Green (as the companion dilettante who turns Alig's story into the juicy novel he'd almost meant to write). Both of these twenty-something C-listers no doubt imagined they were stretching themselves in these roles, even though their smug, dry, crassly mannered impersonations are the thespian equivalents of stick figures. In fact, why say anything at all about Party Monster? It's a good question, best posed to co-directors and screenwriters Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who apparently see some germ of human enlightenment in this irrelevant sociological anecdote, since they have now made a documentary and a fictional feature out of the same material. The documentary was also called Party Monster, and I can only imagine whether it illuminates whatever it is about this story that is supposed to warrant two hours of our attention, much less five years of the filmmakers' labor. I'll never find out, because this version of Party Monster is so psychotically ill-shaped, so pathetically pretentious, that Ryan Phillipe's 54 from a few years back looks positively inspired by comparison. I'm sure we can all rest assured that, soon enough, Party Monster will suffer the same destiny as its protagonist: forgotten, locked away, abandoned to the oblivion of its own manifest unworth. Grade: F

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