John Cameron Mitchell (director)
1h 42mins (length)
11 May 2018 (released)
12 May 2018
It is no surprise that How to Talk to Girls at Parties is an oddball film, given that it is based on a short story of the same name by American Gods writer Neil Gaiman and co-written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the writer and star of musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
It stars Tony Award-winning actor Alex Sharp as Enn, who loves all things punk. One night after a gig, Enn and his mates hunt for the after-party, but they get lost on the way and end up at the wrong house, which is being inhabited by aliens who have stopped in the London suburb of Croydon for a few days on their tour of the galaxy.
The aliens are made up of a number of groups led by the likes of Ruth Wilson and Matt Lucas. Within one group is Zan (Elle Fanning) who is bored of passively observing others and wants to truly immerse herself in her new surroundings, so she escapes the house with Enn.
Enn begins to fall in love with Zan as she begins to experience human moments for the first time. She is enjoying her new life and doesn't want to return to her family when they are due to exit Earth.
As the plot summary suggests, How to Talk to Girls at Parties is very weird and nothing really to do with girls at parties. Sometimes it was hard not to laugh at moments because they were so ridiculously odd, and it is hard to know if those scenes were intentionally funny or if the movie was taking itself seriously.
Despite its bizarre nature, there is still a lot of fun to be had. The dialogue is witty and hilarious, with many loud-out-loud moments, crazy punk rock performances, and strong supporting characters, namely Kidman as Queen Boadicea, a punk music manager.
The blossoming romance between Enn and Zan is enjoyable to watch and the highlight because it was more like a culture clash romantic comedy than a sci-fi flick and isn't as weird as other parts of the movie, particularly those based inside the aliens' house.
Fanning is a reliable performer and puts in another good turn as the curious and clueless Zan. Sharp is a relative newcomer to movies but he is highly likeable and a worthy lead, and Kidman's punk rock look and character are so different to what we are used to you can't help but smile while watching her. This film is a very interesting and unexpected choice for her.
The film is a bit messy, gets too chaotic and muddled towards the end and seems like it doesn't know how to conclude. It consists of loads of random, weird moments that don't quite come together to form a strong narrative.
Because of its odd and unconventional nature, it won't have a popular appeal but may be of interest to those looking for something more offbeat because it is still pretty entertaining.