One of the two studio releases being showcased at Sundance, "It's My
Party" still has an independent feel to it, but with studio production
values. Nick has reached the beginning of the end of the AIDS trail and
is throwing his farewell party. Not exactly a potentially upbeat project.
But this party is meant to be a celebration of Nick's life as well as a
closing of accounts with family, friends and especially Nick's estranged
Eric Roberts is the charismatic Nick and Gregory Harrison is his somewhat
cold ex-love. What is remarkable is that "It's My Party" avoids
being manipulative and maudlin which could have been its down fall. No one
is pure saint and no one is pure sinner. Casting two heterosexual males
in the leads could be playing it safe, but it also gives the film a broader
appeal. Let's face it, sexual orientation shouldn't matter but it does.
Lee Grant and Marlee Matlin head line the supporting cast which includes
Margaret Cho, Bronson Pinchot, Olivia Newton-John, and George Segal. Seems
like everyone wanted to be included in this project so Greg Louganis and
Sally Kellerman are given walk-ons.
"It's My Party" is so moving that as I'm recalling it's warmth
and wit, I start to tear up again. Obviously a labor of love for writer
and director Randal Kleiser, we all benefit from his love.