“Party Games” is a poorly structured short film that, for the most part, takes place at a house party in New York City. The short is comprised of three main vignettes which are intercut between brief scenes featuring an on-screen narrator (Camile Delgado), who speaks directly to the camera, and a singer (Christa Victoria) who performs in front of the room of party guests. The first two vignettes appear to take place at the gathering. One involves a conflict regarding the way in which one of the partygoers ogles another. In turn, a few of the guests strike up a brief and unenlightening conversation about “when a look turns from being flattering to being offensive”. The second vignette includes two gay men discussing their troubled relationship.
The short also contains a scene in which the party hosts (Ralph and Claire) are visited by someone who claims to be God (Ron Barba). It is not obvious whether the visit is during the party or otherwise. God tells Ralph (Mark Levitt) and Claire (Monica Gordon) that he is shutting down planet earth, as he needs room for storage. While skeptical at first, the two are quickly convinced that it is indeed God (probably because he is so over lit) and become visibly upset by his proposition. It is then swiftly reveled that it’s not God after all, but instead the couple are being featured in the new reality TV series, “When God Comes Knocking”. Included in this less than hilarious sequence is a joke about the clapper (as in “clap on, clap off, the clapper”), a subject that over the past 20 years has been quite adequately covered by sketch comedy and the like.
It seems that “Party Games” is supposed to be a comedy (made most apparent by the two bad fart jokes), but it simply isn’t funny. In addition, if there is a dramatic theme of sorts (the trouble with honesty?) it isn’t clear, much less enlightening. The acting and editing in the short film are poor and the audio is barely acceptable (the sound crew seems to have never heard of room tone). Many of the expositional elements, such as the singer, are confusing and seem unmotivated and ultimately pointless. A solid, humorous script may have been able to overcome the technical issues (and possibly the performances), but unfortunately, though an accomplished comedy writer, Mark Levitt, in this case, simply didn’t deliver.