Metascore
36

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 29
  2. Negative: 12 out of 29
  1. For all its decadence, it moves effectively from outrageous camp humor to stark pathos and in the process manages to be oddly touching. As for Culkin, he succeeds as an adult actor in completely unexpected ways.
  2. 75
    Culkin plays Alig as clueless to the end, living so firmly in his fantasy world that nothing can penetrate his chirpy persona. Whether this is accurate--whether indeed any of the facts in the film are accurate--is not for me to say, but it works.
  3. As stagy and awkward as some of the Warhol/Morrissey films of the early '70s.
  4. 70
    Culkin's Alig has the face of a debauched cherub, but the former child star never quite captures the charisma everyone swears was an essential component in Alig's success. Green's St. James steals the picture out from under him (poetic justice of a sort), and the supporting cast is nothing short of amazing.
  5. Reviewed by: David Ehrenstein
    70
    Emotionally distressing yet compulsively watchable,
  6. Reviewed by: D.W. Smith
    60
    Overall, I have to recommend the film for its alternate take on the whole "Leaving Las Vegas," "Basketball Diaries," "Less Than Zero" drug-induced tragedy genre.
  7. Taking on the sneeringly blase Alig may be a cagey career move for Culkin, but it's a disappointingly thin performance.
  8. The plot is sordid and predictable -- indiscriminate nightclubbing leads to escalating drugs, promiscuity, and violence. Things perk up cinematically in the last few scenes, but by then it's almost too late.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    50
    Most moviegoers will have trouble looking past Culkin the actor, who does a decent job of sending up youthful fame in a movie that's barely worth the effort.
  10. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    50
    Better than I expected but still not entirely convincing. As a cautionary tale for demimonde-sters, though, it has its useful points--never argue about money while you're in a K-hole, that sort of thing.
  11. Alig's superficiality seems to have been his only talent. His banality is a problem that the film can't overcome.
  12. 50
    So what is the picture saying? With its uneven tone, flat direction (on bad-looking digital video) and varied performances, very little.
  13. His (Culkin's) performance is earnest and brave, but also mannered when it should be un-self-conscious, and awkward when grace is called for.
  14. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    50
    There isn't an ounce of genuine affection on display. Fenton and Barbato already made a documentary of the same title about Alig, and their fascination with this vapid, charmless pied piper of decadence remains a mystery.
  15. 40
    Party never gets rolling.
  16. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    40
    A colorful, lurid and ultimately so-what look at obnoxious personalities careening down their own road to ruin.
  17. If this were witty, it might have qualified as a downtown version of "All About Eve"; if it were believable, I wouldn't have come away feeling that the actors (including Dylan McDermott and Chloe Sevigny) were wasted.
  18. 38
    In the end you don't believe what you're watching, and you don't care. This party is a drag.
  19. 38
    Devotes most of its energy to its costumes and makeup, which are fabulous. But that and a tabloid-worthy star just aren't enough to revisit this sordid tale as a kind of twisted comedy.
  20. 30
    The film's only real bright spot is Seth Green, who, as Culkin's sidekick, brings Party Monster a droll wit it otherwise lacks. It's such a dreary mess that when Culkin insists that life in prison isn't too different from being a club kid, it's all too easy to believe him.
  21. The psychologizing in Party Monster never goes deeper than what you might get out of Dr. Phil on a bad day.
  22. 25
    Feels fake, forced and indigestible.
  23. Macaulay Culkin still can't act, and it's no longer cute. His performance in Party Monster is so embarrassing one doesn't know where to look.
  24. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    25
    "Prison isn't all that different from a nightclub,'' comments Alig toward the end. Funny; this movie isn't all that different from prison.
  25. 20
    A colorful mess, all style and substances and little else.
  26. 20
    There's really only one reason to see Party Monster, and that's Seth Green's scene-stealing performance as former (and somewhat reluctant) New York club kid James St. James, the boy who would be queen.
  27. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    20
    The distance between tawdry and tedious can be amazingly short. It is traveled with Concorde speed in the arch Party Monster.
  28. 20
    The wanton fabulistas of Party Monster are as boring and insignificant as the very "normals and drearies" they so contemptuously deride.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 5 out of 19
  1. Mar 18, 2013
    0
    This was just a horrible movie in every way you can imagine. The set pieces, the acting, the script, just everything about it. I watched it with my girlfriend and we tend to finish a movie we start even if its bad and every so often we would look at the clock to see how much longer there was and it would seem like it should be half over but it had only been 15 minutes.

    The acting was god awful. I'm sure a lot of people would say it's supposed to be bad to emulate the vacuous and empty club kid lifestyle of the characters and supposed to be cheesy. But no, it was just bad. I've been around enough people who do hardcore drugs to know what they are like and drugs were a big part of the story but they played it so horribly bad it was embarrassing. The rest was just awful middle school drama club quality of acting where everything is so over the top it's painful to watch. The kind of acting where you can't tell if they aren't taking serious and goofing around by being so over the top, or if they truly honestly think they are these great actors really digging deep into their roles and impressed with what awesome actors they are when in reality public access shows have better actors.

    I understand low budgets and I appreciate the fact but this went beyond low budget, they simply didn't care. You can't take a unfinished wet basement in some rundown apartment building, turn off the lights, put in a mirror ball, put some streamers up and have 5 people jumping around in costumes that looked like they were made by 12 year olds and expect me to suspend my disbelief enough to imagine that this is supposed to be the hottest and hippest club in New York. Or that the biggest club planner in the city has like 10 people in the back of a tractor trailer in some abandoned parking lot.

    This movie feels like it was specifically designed to be some cult hit. As if the people behind it were checking off a list of what they think a cult hit movie is and did everything in their power to hit that target. They don't realize you cant make a cult film on purpose. But this felt like it was just trying to force itself and fake being a cult movie. Even the casting felt like it with a bunch of notable indie actors like Chloƫ Sevigny, Natasha Lyonne, right down to Marilyn manson. And then you have to throw in some has been actors like John Stamos so people can say "Om my god its john stamos!" Casting people that convey a character and be believable is important, but when you do it just for the sake of having a certain person to attract a certain audience is just laughable and never ends well.

    Worse yet I felt like I didn't discover anything, gain any insight or have any real moral so to speak. It was just a bunch of people taking drugs, staging mock rave parties, killing someone and then it ends. And to add insult to injury the pacing was just pure crap. Die hard was a better constructed film than this and that is just about a cop who gets trapped in a building and shoots people.

    This movie is purely bad film making, bad acting, bad scripting, bad sound, bad design and we are all dumber for having watched it. I like a bad movie that has some sense of substance or a purpose, but this movie has neither. It is a virtual turd pinched off in some cheap attempt at gaining notoriety with the indie kids.
    Full Review »
  2. Feb 7, 2011
    10
    Absolutely a PERFECT rendition of Disco Bloodbath by James St. James. Anyone who has the pleasure of reading his novel would agree...and he (James St. James) even made an appearance with some of the other club kids!! (need to look hard though) Full Review »
  3. JenyL.
    Sep 18, 2006
    10
    I just loved this movie! It had the perfect cast.. the only word I can think of to say is that it was FABULOUS!!!