The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker, is a film dealing with the problems of binge drinking, and tells you very blatantly that you shouldn’t do it. It tells the story of one not very smart person with limited self-control who begins to indulge more and more frequently during her first year of college. This person is Jessie (Sara Paxton), and she ends up being the roommate of Shanna (Chelsea Hobbs), both of whom are entering their first year of college.
Jessie is a straight-A student, someone who you would never expect to turn around completely. She has a supportive mother (April Brenner) and a loving sister (Alexia Fast), and her only problem is that she doesn’t think she’ll be popular at college. So she decides to join her roommate in indulging in a little champagne to open up the school year. And then goes out to a party. And another one. And yet another. You see where this is going.
The film uses almost all of the clichés I can think of when looking at films involving addiction. The main character starts out completely fine, and within a few days is a hard-partying binge drinker. She gets worse and worse as the film progresses, despite others trying to help her. She only does it, supposedly, to fit in. The only surprise here comes from the ending, which actually shocked me. Apart from that, you’ve probably seen similar scenes in similar film before, and have no reason to watch this.
That is, of course, unless you need the film’s message hammered home further, or you believe that your children, friends, or others that you care about need it. Simply speaking, the moral of the story is: Don’t binge drink. I can see this film actually being an eye-opener to some, as it does have some extremely powerful scenes. The message is very clear, and comes across strongly, which, since this is the main point of the film, it succeeds.
However, there is a lot of over exaggeration and times when the film is more silly than it is realistic. For example, am I supposed to believe that every single time a character takes a drink in the film, they scream with joy? The parties in this college also seem quite a bit more professional than they likely should be, although I guess you want to initially show the lifestyle as glamorous, before showing us that it’s really not all that great.
I also have a hard time imagining that a character like Jessie would fall for peer pressure quite so easily. In the film, she does this at the very first chance she gets. She’s a smart person, we’ve been told, and she initially plans on just staying in the background and just getting great marks. But at the first offering of champagne, she ditches that, and gives in to peer pressure at every opportunity afterward.
The dialogue coming from these characters mouths also doesn’t seem all that real to me. It’s a PG film, (at least, here in Canada it is), but that rating cannot accurately represent a college lifestyle. While the characters don’t need to swear up a storm, they do need to at least talk semi-realistically. But this is a Lifetime movie, which is essentially an adult version of Disney Channel films, meaning that isn’t going to happen. This takes me out of films like this almost as much as how unrealistic the situations are.
And then there’s Jessie’s mother, who, like so many parents, doesn’t see the signs until it’s (possibly) too late. But she calls incessantly anyway. Why? Why not have her become aware — not just speculate — of Jessie’s situation earlier? And when she does find out, she doesn’t do all that much. She doesn’t act like I’d expect a concerned mother to act, which is another thing that made the film seem unrealistic.
The best part of the film is its ending, which is, at the very least, not what you’d expect. Or at least, I didn’t expect it. It was powerful, and if there’s one shot that I’ll remember for a long time after watching The Party Never Stops, it’s the ending. And thankfully, it isn’t an ending where you have to interpret anything. It’s perfectly clear what happens, how it affects people, and what the characters are going to do with their lives. It was also just about the perfect ending that I could imagine, and if you do decide to watch this film, at least you have this to look forward to.
The Party Never Stops: Diary of a Binge Drinker has a good message, but if you have no fears about becoming a binge drinker, then you’re fine without watching it. The ending and its message are really the only things that the film has going for it, with the rest of the film feeling unrealistic, repetitive and slightly boring. Maybe let your kids watch it when they turn 10 though, just to give them an idea of what not to do at college.