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Film / Party Mom

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Jackie with a drink in her hand, so naturally she has a smile on her face

Party Mom is a 2018 Lifetime Movie of the Week drama, written and directed by Michael Feifer.

Brittany Thompson (Elise Luthman) is a teenage girl from the San Fernando Valley (Lake Balboa, to be specific). While she's part of a tight-knit middle class family, she's recently become friends with Ashley Anderson (Amber Frank), a rich girl from Beverly Hills. Invited to attend a Wild Teen Party at Ashley's house, she learns that it's actually Ashley's mom Jackie (Krista Allen) hosting the party, and Jackie is the wildest one of all. As Brittany continues to party with Ashley (and Jackie), she starts experiencing hangovers and becomes detached from her family, causing her parents Gary (Brian Krause) and Caroline (Megan Ward) to worry about her, a worry that proves to be justified when one of Jackie's parties ends tragically.

Krista Allen herself has described it as "what happens when The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills crash a Lifetime movie."

Party Mom contains examples of:

  • Adults Dressed as Children: Jackie wears Ariana Grande-like kitten ears at one of the parties and keeps them on in jail after her arrest.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Jackie pretty well retires the trophy for this. She's literally always drinking, and seems constantly wasted.
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT tell Jackie to "calm down".
  • Black Comedy: Krista Allen's portrayal of Jackie has this tone, which contrasts quite a bit with the fairly serious style of the rest of the movie.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Travis gets quite a bit of screentime as a possible love interest for Brittany then gets killed in the crash.
  • Drunk Driver: Brittany leaves the party at the Anderson house with hunky Travis, a girl named Sasha, and the obviously drunk Dillon at the wheel, who goes too fast and weaves all around the road. He ends up getting in a head-on collision that puts Brittany in the hospital and kills everyone else.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Played with in almost a cruel way. It looks like Gary, the film's most likable character, has turned vigilante and murdered Ashley in cold blood, but it's revealed to be the father of the other girl in the crash.
  • Genki Girl: Brittany's ultra-exuberant 11-year-old sister Emma.
  • Glamorous Single Mother: Jackie cleaned up on alimony in her divorce (70% of her ex's assets!) and lives in a big, lavish Beverly Hills house.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Jackie isn't a "girl" anymore, but takes every other part of the trope name up to eleven.
  • In the Hood: The person who breaks into the Anderson house and kills Ashley is wearing a dark hoodie.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: When Brittany and Sasha talk about Travis.
    Sasha: So, you gonna go all the way?
    Brittany: All the way?
    Sasha: Yeah, like, have sex.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Caroline Thompson and her daughters Brittany and Emma all have blonde hair and represent a well-adjusted, loving family, while Jackie Anderson and her daughter Ashley both have dark hair and represent a dysfunctional, hedonistic family.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Never stated outright, but it's very obviously hinted that Jackie likes to hook up with the hot teen boys at her parties.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: It's never explicitly pointed out, but Brittany's younger sister is literally named Emma Thompson.
  • Pet the Dog: Jackie's one sympathetic moment is when she cries over Ashley's death.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ashley gives one to Jackie after the fatal crash, but Jackie couldn't care less.
    Ashley: I thought you were so awesome, Mom! You know, I thought you were the Cool Mom, the Party Mom. But you know what? You're the Self-Centered Mom!
  • Sacrificial Lion: Ashley gets murdered by Sasha's father in revenge for her death in the crash.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: The second act plays out like a driver's ed film about the dangers of drunk driving.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Jackie figures her wealth will protect her when she gets in trouble and she's absolutely right.
  • Secondary Character Title: Jackie only appears in a couple of scenes in the first half of the film, and is still not the main character even when she appears more in the second half.
  • Shock-and-Switch Ending: It sure feels like a drunk Jackie is going to hit Gary's car and probably kill him at the end, but it doesn't happen.
  • The Sociopath: Jackie is a Narcissist for sure, but is also highly callous, irresponsible and devoid of empathy.
  • Title Drop: No less than three! Besides the one listed in "The Reason You Suck" Speech, there's these:
    Jackie: I'm a party mom, right?
    Ashley: Everybody calls her the Party Mom.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Brittany is coming home late from Jackie's parties, is hungover in the morning, and has started drinking coffee.
    Emma: Only adults drink coffee! You're a kid!
  • Urban Segregation: Actually a major theme, dealing with the tension in Los Angeles between posh Beverly Hills and the suburban San Fernando Valley. Brittany is even ashamed to tell Ashley's friends that she lives in Lake Balboa, just vaguely saying "the Valley", and leading them at first to assume it's a wealthy area like Hidden Hills or Calabasas. Jackie looks down on the Thompson family, even insulting Caroline's clothes in court.
    Jackie: Look at her! She looks like she shops at an outlet mall!
  • Vague Age: Travis and Dillon, the two guys Brittany leaves the party with, seem a bit older, but it's not established how old exactly. Brittany and Travis even have a conversation about it, in which he gets very evasive. However, the criminal charges against Jackie after the crash specify that they were both under 21.
    Brittany: How old are you?
    Travis: What difference does it make how old I am?
    Brittany: I mean, I'm only 15.
    Travis: Okay. So?
    Brittany: So you're probably a lot older than me. Like, statutory rape older than me.
    Travis: Uh, well, I feel like it depends a lot more of how you feel.
  • Valley Girl: Brittany is actually from the Valley, but isn't portrayed this way at all.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: This appears to be a fictionalization of the stories of two middle-aged women who had similar incidents occur in 2009. One, in Florida, involved Diane Katz Santarelli, a woman who was notorious for hosting teen parties at her house. The other, in Missouri, involved a Halloween party for teens hosted by Sandra Triebel. In both cases drunk teens who attended the parties caused a fatal car accident, and both women were charged with manslaughter for providing them alcohol. Santarelli was acquitted on the manslaughter charge, while a judge threw out Triebel's manslaughter charge, ruling that prosecutors lacked legal grounds for it. They still faced misdemeanor charges for providing alcohol to minors. Triebel pleaded guilty, while Santarelli went to trial and was convicted.
  • Vigilante Man: After Jackie gets acquitted on all charges, the father of the other girl in the crash kills Ashley in revenge, but at first it's made to seem like Gary is the killer.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: A pampered Beverly Hills glamor queen like Jackie views the merely middle class Lake Balboa neighborhood as this.