The Afterparty on Apple TV+ is more comedy than mystery

The Afterparty
The Afterparty

We’re all the star of our own movie, everyone the protagonist facing their individual lifetime of gargantuan and petty conflicts until the credits roll. Throw any group of friends together, suggests the frothy new Apple TV+ whodunnit The Afterparty (★★★☆☆), and they’ll each record a markedly different version of what occurred. Background interaction in one person’s movie might be the pivotal scene in someone else’s.

Even in the shocking event of cold-blooded murder at a high school reunion after-party, everyone present is bound to see the story differently through the lens of their unique experience. So, accordingly, this adventurous series slices its murder-mystery into multiple points-of-view, with each episode centered around a different character at the ill-fated soirée.

Technically, they’re all suspects, being interviewed by perceptive police detective Danner, played with a wink and a smile by Tiffany Haddish. Episode one, the detective hears from Aniq (Sam Richardson), whose account of the night reels off like a rom-com with the shy escape-room designer arriving at the reunion pining for his high school crush, Zoë (Zoë Chao). Episode two, an action flick told from the tough guy perspective of Brett (Ike Barinholtz), the classmate Zoë actually married after graduating, reveals that she might have shown up at the after-party with a different romantic interest in mind.

The Afterparty
The Afterparty

Each partygoer’s perspective adds more pieces to the puzzle, both in terms of the friends’ sundry unfinished business, and Danner’s murder investigation. And each episode conforms stylistically to how the characters see themselves, or believe others see them. Hence, the episode narrated by vengeance-seeking Chelsea (a delightfully intense Ilana Glazer) plays like a parody of a stalker thriller. Even Detective Danner gets her own origin story in a satisfying episode that could just as easily suffice as the pilot for a fictional Danner police drama.

The genre-hopping can be a gas, although the inconsistency in atmosphere and focus doesn’t really serve the murder plot. Only Murders in the Building, which just wrapped its first season on Hulu, was comparatively more successful at weaving comedy and mystery into its dense, colorful tapestry of life inside a crowded New York City apartment building. A teeming hive of meddlers, murderers, and malcontents, the building itself held the show’s disparate elements together. Those characters all lived in the same movie.

The Afterparty‘s central mystery does accrue stronger interest as the eight-episode season nears its big finish. Only seven episodes were available to review, so there’s nothing to spoil here — except that the jokes generally land better than the whodunnit elements. Regardless of who’s telling the story, every episode takes hilarious jabs at the after-party’s host, cheesy pop star Xavier (Dave Franco).

The Afterparty
The Afterparty

Formerly known to his classmates as mild-mannered ska musician Eugene Duckworth, he’s since blown up as a pop idol and star of movie blockbusters like Hungry Hungry Hippos and the Hall and Oates biopic Private Eyes, co-starring Channing Tatum. Xavier’s hit single “X Marks the G Spot” was the first record to go #1 in Antarctica, among other ridiculous achievements.

Franco’s clearly having a ball portraying the most obnoxious aspects of celebrity, and the show seems on much surer ground when it’s leaning on the comic chops of its stacked ensemble. It remains to be seen whether The Afterparty will nail the murder-mystery dismount, but there are definitely laughs along the way.

The Afterparty streams new episodes weekly every Friday on Apple TV+. Visit

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.