You ever have one of those out of town trips where absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong does, but then several months down the line you’re looking back and see the humor in the absurdity of your awful luck? Well, “The Party Animal” is kind of like that. I totally enjoyed my initial viewing of the movie, but it's become hysterical in retrospect. I'll replay the scenarios from the film in my head and realize I missed some minor detail that augments the entire mess and makes it that much funnier. It is so packed with nuance that things are bound to slip by you the first time. At its core, it’s a typical boner comedy, featuring a level of stupidity that is so ornate that it must have required a level of genius to construct. It is sophisticated yet it never aspires to SEEM sophisticated, and therein lies its genius.
The story follows Pondo Sinatra, a hopelessly horny redneck doofus who literally falls off the turnip truck at a university that’s brimming with amply endowed co-eds. Unfortunately, Pondo is so exuberant in his attempts to get laid that most of the girls want absolutely nothing to do with him. Enter Pondo’s best friend, Studly (Timothy Carhart), a guy who seems to have all the luck with the ladies. Studly runs Pondo through a ringer of advice on how to score, but nothing really pans out. In fact, our protagonist winds up virtually mutilated anytime he listens to Studly.
The events of the film itself are relayed through a mockumentary wrap-around, with Studly recollecting Pondo’s pathetic attempts to get laid while a bevy of beautiful women rue the day they met this confederate chump. We also learn that Pondo has somehow achieved cult celebrity status, which they don't fully explain til the final quarter of the film, when Pondo unwittingly invents a chemical that inspires uncontrollable nymphomania in women and SOME men. I won’t go any further into detail since that would actually spoil things for the uninitiated, but the conclusion is really quite surprising.
While a lot of the gags are clever, one still gets the impression that the filmmakers did not achieve everything they had intended in terms of story. In particular, the mysterious blond woman who seems to act as mere watcher over Pondo and his struggles with the opposite sex may or may not have a payoff. Who she is or what her purpose may be is really left up to the viewer's interpretation.
Matthew Causey was blessed with tremendous physical comedic sensibility. The film entirely succeeds because of Causey, whose performance is the centerpiece of the film. Pondo is a lecherous creep, but also incredibly likable and sweet at the same time - a rare and difficult mashup of qualities to pull off. Causey has since gone on to teach drama at several universities, and sadly he has disowned the film. It's really a shame he didn't go on to do more work in this specific vein, as he is truly something special to behold here. This is duel shrine and grave marker dedicated to the career of a truly charismatic talent.
A major contributing factor to this film’s greatness also has to be its soundtrack, the bulk of which is provided by the Buzzcocks. The film also features the track “Rain” by Dream6, who later went on to become Concrete Blond.
Seriously, there's very little that this movie doesn't get right. Even its faults somehow enhance the whole thing. The soundtrack rips, the humor is without any sort of racial or sexual sensitivity, and the nudity is both high in quality and merciless in its abundance. It’s really a shame they don’t let people make fun movies anymore.