Project X, the found-footage party film, produced by The Hangover director Todd Phillips. Is there much more that needs to be said? It’s a glorified party film starring the world’s biggest douche-bags and saying that shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s exactly what it advertises itself to be, which is a chaotic mess of a film. It takes the found-footage genre to unreached heights, but while doing so it drops the one thing that makes these films work; the characters.
Project X sacrifices its characters for cheap laughs and quick amusement. By doing this it caps itself off from ever achieving anything higher than a film you’d watch with your friends, drunk. Project X is funny, but most of the hilarity comes from laughing at the characters and never laughing with them. You’re never fooled into actually caring our liking them, which makes the ending all the weirder. Frat boys and high-school kids are going to eat this film up, but those looking for something remotely clever or funny past the midget and dick jokes are going to be disappointed.
Thomas (Thomas Mann) has lived his high-school life by the books. His parents trust him, but they don’t exactly respect him. His dad reveals in a scene with his mother how much of a little bitch Thomas really is. His obnoxious friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) comes up a genius idea of throwing a massive birthday bash for Thomas after Thomas’ parents leave for vacation. With the help of their buddy JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), they put together one of the biggest parties known to man.
It’s an epic party, no doubt about it. There’s two DJ’s, thousands of people and enough drugs and beverages to supply an entire army. Their goal is kind of a pathetic goal that most phase through in high-school and that is to be socially accepted. They want to be the most popular kids in school and instead of aiming for deeper things like earning respect and bonding friendships, they decide to do what most dumb kids would do and that is to invite half the world to a party that’s only form of security is two 12 year-old kids.
Thomas has his eyes set on a particular girl that he’s been drooling over, who happens to be the most attractive and popular one of the bunch. He doesn’t have any internal interests like friendship or even trying to get her to be his girlfriend. No, he just wants to sleep with her.
Costa and JB are as simple-minded as Thomas. They want to get drunk, screw ladies and become famous. It’s this basic mindset that is presented and carried out through the entire film. Project X is a cruel look at how pathetic our youth really becoming.
At least with a film like Superbad you have characters with actual goals. Sure, there is a ton of profanity and immature comments thrown into the mix, but that’s what makes it a high-school appealing R-rated comedy. But when you break it down the film is about friendship, relationships and actually living life instead of watching it pass on by. Project X not once tries to infuse a story or greater purpose. It’s a surface level throwaway film.
It’s a wash, rinse and repeat cycle of loud music, drinking and random flashes of bare breasts. It’s amusing the first 3 or 4 times, but it gets old real quick. Things do heat up, when the party nears its end. The neighborhood becomes a war zone and Thomas and the gang are stuck trying to get out while a crazed druggie burns down half the block with a flamethrower. The cops step in and things get real interesting. But that interest is quickly toned down. Right when things get frantic and out-of-control, the film puts a kibosh on the fun and decides to end things quickly.
Project X then turns to one of the most forced and out of place endings that I can remember for this type of film. It tries to make you actually give a shit about Thomas and it tries to sell you on a relationship that’s slowly been forming since the start. It feels more like an afterthought though. Not a single minute of the film is spent on furthering the characters and then the ending tries to make you actually feel for them? It’s a bullshit move by director Nima Nourizadeh.
My review might sound really negative, but there are a few things I did enjoy. The films security guards are absolutely hilarious. They get the hardest laughs and they’re evenly placed in the film to bring you a surprise when you least expect it. Also, the film cleverly pokes fun at the entire found-footage genre during the insane final act. And I can’t close out on the positive comments without mentioning how awesome the character Dax is. He’s the only one worthy of investing time into and his ending blurb got the loudest laugh out of me. (Only two people in the entire theater actually laughed at his closing credits, which is kind of sad)
Project X can be enjoyed if you walk in not expecting a film. Its story is weak, its characters are all assholes and there really is no point to the entire thing, but it successfully recreates the feeling of being at a party. That shouldn’t earn the film a pass though because anyone can recreate a party. You just need music, drinks and tons of people. Walking around with a camera, filming people doing dumb shit isn’t a talent, which is why Project X doesn’t ultimately work as a film. You’re never properly introduced to the characters or given enough time to care for them on a basic level, which makes the forced ending feel like a punch in the face.
People who use the word bro a lot or males that enjoy wearing sweatpants with sandals are going to love Project X. Everyone else probably had their mind made up about the film after watching the first trailer.
Project X – 6/10