Afterlife of the Party Offers A Second Chance

VICTORIA JUSTICE (center) as CASSIE in AFTERLIFE OF THE PARTY. Photo credit: Graham Bartholomew/NETFLIX © 2021

One young woman gets in a second chance in the new comedy, Afterlife of the Party, launching on Netflix ahead of Labor Day weekend.

After a night of partying and blowing off her best friend, Cassie (Victoria Justice) tragically dies during her 25th birthday week of all weeks. Being hungover isn’t the best way to go out and if there were video of her death, Cassie certainly would not want it to go viral. It’s that embarrassing. Anyway, she finds herself in the In-Between and learns from guardian angel Val () that she gets a second chance. No, not at living but at righting the wrongs or, you know, the unfinished business. Then and only then will she be able to head above. Getting there is the hardest part because she didn’t leave her best friend Lisa (Midori Francis), grieving father, and estranged mother in a good way.

Cassie has her work cut out because getting through to Lisa isn’t going to come easy. It’s been one year since her tragic and untimely passing and this script really plays it for humor at first. But once Cassie gets through to Lisa, the dominoes start falling in line. But will it be enough for Cassie to accomplish her to-do list within five days?

This may not be a romantic comedy but there’s something of a love story here. It’s the power of friendship between Cassie and Lisa. And again, they did not leave each other in a good spot so it’s interesting to watch how things play out when Cassie returns.

Another thing about this film is the power of music. The film’s soundtrack features a number of original songs as well as one major hit song. You won’t be able to help yourself is you start feeling tears coming down your face.

Carrie Freedle’s screenplay finds the right mix of balancing humor and grief. The press notes describe the initial pitch to the producers as Clueless meets The Good Place.  This is quite an interesting way of looking at the film! I mean, the comparison certainly doesn’t feel wrong but at the same time, the film doesn’t feel like it’s at the same level of those two. Put it this way: this film is not at the top of my list for this week’s openers. It isn’t even in my top three! For what it’s worth though, filmmaker Stephen Herek has a solid background behind the camera for a number of films. Time will tell though but I did not hate or dislike the film if that’s what your wondering.

Fun fact: Cape Town, South Africa stands in for San Diego. Most pandemic bubbles were in England, Vancouver, or LA so this one is rather fascinating to learn.

Afterlife of the Party is a middle-of-the-road comedy film for Netflix–it’s not essential viewing but you might take away something from watching. There’s a healthy mix of learning lessons, too. While movies are strictly forbidden on Yom Kippur, this film is perfect for the Days of Awe.

DIRECTOR: Stephen Herek
SCREENWRITER: Carrie Freedle
CAST: Victoria Justice, Midori Francis, Robyn Scott, Adam Garcia, Timothy Renouf, Gloria Garcia, Myfanwy Waring, and introducing Spencer Sutherland

Netflix launches Afterlife of the Party on September 2, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.