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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

The Party (1968)



Reviews and Comments

The Party is an ample demonstration of how much can be done with very little. The story of The Party is -- get ready -- a film extra from India goes to a dinner party he was invited to by mistake.

From this simple idea, star Peter Sellers and director Blake Edwards -- who partnered several times on the Inspector Clouseau movies -- create a surprisingly sympathetic character and a host of funny slapstick sketches. Slapstick comedy, frequently derided as a low form of humor, takes a lot of artistry and calculation to do right. Sellers and Edwards know exactly what they are doing, for the most part: things shift from low key to mayhem with perfectly timed suddenness. The final act, however, is a bit of a misfire. It's too over the top; in a movie that is successful employing restraint, suddenly moderation is sacrificed for extremes. It's probably not as bad as I make it sound, however, and fans of the star, director, or this brand of comedy in general will probably enjoy it as I did.