Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers, and his style has lead to the creation of some works of art that haunted me for years to come. How to Talk to Girls at Parties ends up being a quirky piece of science fiction that plays things just a little too safe, despite having some definitely weird and uncomfortable imagery. Only the concept and costume design stand out, and that’s pretty unfortunate given how often the movie charms and delights. When it’s over you’re left craving something more substantial, making it feel like it’s just an appetizer.

Everything that’s great in the trailer is good in the movie, but there’s nothing more substantial than that. There’s more of it, but not more of it. That really left me disappointed, because there were some moments of the film that leaned to the creepy side, but it always played it too safe. Everything gets a spotlight, so you’re not ever really left wondering what happened for very long, and the tone of the film fails to match the sinister edge that it hints at the potential of. If director John Cameron Mitchell had leaned harder into the darker side of the story, this could have excelled.

That said, the film is charming. Each character is likable and engaging, and the moment to moment dialog is fun and effective. there are even a few lines that feel pretty profound, though they are often poorly set-up by the shallow characterization. How to Talk to Girls at Parties is both sweet and fun enough that anyone out there looking for that bridge between science fiction and punk rock will remember this for years as a solid and enjoyable flick. Nothing is really broken here, it’s just sad that if you already know what you’re craving that you’ll walk out wanting more… something more substantial.

The other place where the film shines a bit is the music, which is fun and refreshing. I have to say, though, that it wasn’t very memorable. Very little of the music left the theater with me. I really have to hold this against the film, too, because I think this is a core expectation for this film. It’s literally about punk and how it represents human ideals of individuality, so it needs to capture that with music that gets in your head. And… it just doesn’t do it. Not enough, anyway.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a fun flick that’s good enough to entertain. It’s not surrounded by competition, and if you’re into this sort of quirky, fun, or unusual science fiction you’re not going to be getting it from anywhere else. Definitely watch it, it’s the only way you’ll have a chance of getting more, even if it leaves you craving a main course that never comes.

Final Verdict:Fun and cute, but too reserved.
Rating:75 / 100