If the Sex Pistols, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and X-Files had a threesome and spawned one single entity, you’d get John Cameron Mitchell‘ s How To Talk To Girls At Parties – a zany, lovely, but weirdly ordinary love story.
For all its vulgarian chutzpa, punk DIY ethos, and visual high jinx, it’s at heart a boy-meets-girl-loses-girl-makes-it-in-the-world-but-lonely kind of tale…
Adapted to screen from a Neil Gaiman short story, it’s set in late 1970s Silver Jubilee punk era Croydon – which in this version (and maybe for real) looks like a bunch of drunk kids in stage makeup shouting against conformity and social injustice, with no revolutionary effect. Except in music. Which is what it kind of panned out as.
The queen bee of the lot, and the best thing in the pic, is mad-eyed Nicole Kidman, as Boadicea, the ur-punk, and the only real rebel in Croydon Town. A creative dynamo Svengali, with nothing to show for ‘at the fag end of her fertility’, as she deadpans.
This is the place where a school trip of aliens from various galaxies descend, dressed like extras in Kubrick’s 2001 (not the apes, the spacecraft hostesses), their latex suits shining in different bright colours, according to origin, forming a wonderful, sexy rainbow. Their cult like swinger-ish party is crashed by three punk novices, teenage boys with a taste for adventure, but freaked out by everything else, especially girls. At parties.
And here I’ll leave you to contemplate what happens when the cleverest, curious, intellectually rebellious alien girl, meets the cleverest, soulful, emotionally bruised punk boy…
As a die-hard fan of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I expected so much more, but what I got was one night’s fun, and good vibes on my way home. And that’s OK, too.
Not revolutionary, though.