I love actor Sam Richardson, star of THE AFTERPARTY, and recently seen in TED LASSO, THE TOMORROW WAR, and HOCUS POCUS 2. I wish I could say the same about Paul Walter Hauser, but from what I’ve seen him so far (RICHARD JEWELL, I TONYA, COBRA KAI & more), he’s just not for me. As the titular character of this week’s episode, it was a massive strikeout for me because I find Travis even more likable than Hauser.
The third episode this season takes the style of a hard-boiled neo-noir mystery. If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, perhaps you’ve heard of THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) or DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944). And if you haven’t heard of or seen those films, fix that ASAP! There are so many great noir films from that era… (THE THIRD MAN, THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, DIABOLIQUE) This is a genre I enjoy and respect immensely. While some attempts to recreate it have been great (MEMENTO, BRICK, NIGHTCRAWLER), unfortunately, THE AFTER PARTY isn’t one of them.
Aniq (Richardson) doesn’t seem to have good luck at events. First, a murder after his class reunion, and now a murder after a wedding. The premise that a different genre inspires every episode was fun and fresh last year. With this episode around Travis, this twist is really starting to stale. Travis is a dimwit, and Hauser always gets cast as these types. He is annoying with zero self-awareness, and often tries to make himself out to be better than he is. Like a real-life internet troll. As I was putting together this review, one of our editors told me Hauster is “great in BLACK BIRD,” which I haven’t seen, so maybe millions of others enjoy his performances!
THE AFTERPARTY has some great additions to this season’s cast, including John Cho, Ken Jeong, and Zoe Chao. It’s still early, and this season has a strong shot at redemption when their episodes drop.
THE AFTERPARTY is streaming on AppleTV+.