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Film / Party Girl (1995)

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Party Girl is a 1995 independent comedy-drama film directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer and starring Parker Posey in the title role.

Mary (Posey) is a 20-something Hard-Drinking Party Girl in New York City, who gets busted for hosting an illegal rave in her apartment and thrown in jail. Turning to her godmother Judy (Sasha Von Scherler), a librarian, for help, she gets herself bailed out but Judy refuses to loan her money, instead offering her a job as a library clerk. Mary is initially doubtful, but soon discovers she has a natural talent for librarianship. Despite this, Judy doesn't respect her, thinking Mary will turn out just like her mother, a woman with "no common sense." With all of this Mary has to balance a budding romance with Mustapha (Omar Townsend), a Lebanese falafel salesman who wants to be a teacher, the continued affections of her ex-boyfriend Nigel (Liev Schreiber), and the budding career of her DJ friend Leo (Guillermo Díaz).


  • The Alcoholic: Rene, who thinks Mary is one as well.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: the theme of the party Mary throws near the end of the movie. Mustapha is noticeably unamused.
  • Artistic License - Library Science: the movie is actually fairly good at depicting working in a library accurately, except for the scene where Mary organizes Leo's music using the Dewey Decimal Classical System. The DDC has very specific categories for organizing items by subject, and the categories that Mary uses are not even close to correct.
  • Berserk Button: Rene loathes all music produced by Teddy Rogers.
  • Beta Couple: Leo and Venus, and in the last ten minutes or so of the movie we are given Derrick and Kurt.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Mary's problem is that she has an enormous amount of potential but barely uses any of it. When she does she's able to do things like learn the Dewey Decimal System in one night.
  • Camp Gay: Many of Mary's friends, in particular Derrick.
  • Drag Queen: The first person we see in the film is one looking for an earring on the stairwell up to Mary's party. Several more appear throughout the film.
  • Hipster: Mary ticks most of the boxes for the '90s version of the type.
  • Hot Librarian: Mary is a hot library clerk until she decides to go to library school at the end of the movie.
  • Insistent Terminology: Judy makes it very clear that to be a librarian you need an MLS, therefore Mary can only be a library clerk. This is Truth in Television, as there are people who will get very miffed at you if you claim to be a librarian when you don't have the degree.
  • Jerkass: Judy for a lot of the movie. All of the other librarians and library clerks are able to see Mary's potential (including the initially rude Wanda), except for Judy, who continues to see Mary as a screwup until the very end.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Mary and Leo. The one time they do kiss Mary even refers to it as "incest".
  • Mushroom Samba: Mary has one after taking a "mind altering substance that will give my children gills."
  • Nice Guy: Mustapha. Also, Nigel appears to be one, until he tries to rape Mary.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Venus and several other of the party people Mary knows.
  • Protagonist Title: By not-really-a-Job Title.
  • Shown Their Work: This movie has a significantly more accurate portrayal of librarians and librarianship than is usual in works of fiction.