Mumblecore is simply not for me. Fortunately, it seems like two prominent forces in the movement – Aaron Katz and The Duplass Brothers – have moved away from that sort of filmmaking, as their most recent respective works, Cold Weather and Cyrus depart from the stylistic sensibilities of their earlier films. My admiration for Cold Weather drew me to Dance Party USA, but ultimately, I’m glad that Katz is working with bigger budgets, because the difference between this and Cold Weather are worlds apart in quality.
Dance Party USA is a coming-of-age story of sorts, as a group of teenagers get together, express their sexual frustration and perpetual boredom, and continue to go on. There’s a drama at the film’s center, involving a drunken date rape, which serves less as a device but more as a way to identify a character. And the characters drift. There isn’t anything particularly poetic or meaningful in how the teenagers express themselves – which I suppose is the point. Even if there’s a sense of poignancy in the film’s conclusion, I must say that the whole endeavor is quite forgettable.