‘The Afterparty’ turns its comedic homicide thriller into extra of an afterthought

Produced by “The Lego Film” workforce of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (with Miller directing), the eight-part present begins with the demise of a famed celeb singer (Dave Franco) through the after-party at a 15-year high-school reunion.
Who might need pushed him to his demise? Any one in all numerous former classmates seems to harbor a motive, with every spending an episode recounting their story to a detective (Tiffany Haddish) racing to resolve the thriller earlier than her boss can dispatch a higher-profile cop to take over the investigation.

The format means seeing occasions unfolds from totally different angles, whereas choosing up new bits of data alongside the way in which. However the inherent whodunit and evolving path of breadcrumbs do not actually show that attractive, with the very best materials coming from the outdated high-school crushes, grievances and missed alternatives that get rehashed.

Tiffany Haddish and cast had a blast filming 'The Afterparty'

Armed with a superb forged that additionally consists of Sam Richardson (“Veep”), Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz, Ike Barinholtz, Ilana Glazer and Jamie Demetriou, Miller does interact in some amusing flights into the absurd because the totally different characters — and their sometimes-wild imaginations — take heart stage. The extra outlandish thrives vary from a struggle scene that seemingly goes on for about 5 minutes to an animated sequence.

Nonetheless, not solely is the “Rashomon” wrinkle overused (see the latest film “The Final Duel” as nicely), however the high-school reunion additionally feels fairly exhausted as a backdrop — a conceit that gives a built-in excuse for assembling a gaggle of actors who’re all roughly the identical demographically fascinating age. Certainly, Fox tried virtually the precise the identical premise with the 2005 drama “Reunion,” which did not final lengthy sufficient to complete the story.

So whereas Apple is selling the present as “genre-defying,” it is actually extra “genre-embracing.” Haddish additionally appears to be working just a little too onerous at wringing humor from what might simply be a straight-arrow half, which frankly proves a little bit of a distraction from the give attention to the sufferer, his friends and attending to the reality of who murdered him.

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Even with its flaws “The Afterparty” goes down simply sufficient, however as potential binges go, it is hardly a VIP ticket — much less the stuff of appointment viewing than merely, nicely, an afterthought.

“The Afterparty” premieres Jan. 28 on Apple TV+. (Disclosure: My spouse now works for a division of Apple.)

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