This supernatural dramedy is predictable, but its two charismatic stars keep it from suffering as clumsy a death as its main character.
Part of the problem is that the central idea of Afterlife of the Party is quite sad -- a 25-year-old dead by accident in the prime of her life -- yet the film does everything it can in its first half to play this as straight comedy. (Even Netflix's marketing of the film refers to her death as a "party foul.")
Things noticeably improve in the second half as the script delves into what Cassie is leaving behind and allows its characters to actually feel something, but the disconnect in tone is noticeable.
Victoria Justice and Midori Francis do a great job embodying best friends with contrasting personalities, even though they're straddled with fairly two-dimensional profiles. Cassie is also perpetually squeezed into glamorous, skin-tight outfits matched with perfect hair and make-up.
When Lisa complains that Cassie is hanging out with people who "look filtered 24-7," it feels unintentionally ironic to the casting and styling of the stunning Justice, a former Nickelodeon star. Too bad the filmmakers didn't trust her to shoulder a less encumbered performance. She suggests here that she'd do a great job at it.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.