Project X follows three seemingly anonymous high school seniors-Thomas, Costa and J.B.-as they attempt to finally make a name for themselves. Their idea is innocent enough: let's throw a party that no one will forget, and have a camera there, to document history in the making... but nothing could prepare them for this party. Word spreads quickly as dreams are ruined, records are blemished and legends are born. Project X is a warning to parents and police everywhere.
Nima Nourizadeh makes his feature film debut directing a cast of newcomers who scored parts through a nationwide talent search. Todd Phillips ("The Hangover" films) produces the film, with Joel Silver, Scott Budnick, Andrew Rona, Alex Heineman and Marty P. Ewing executive producing. The screenplay was written by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall, based on a story by Bacall.
Project X stars Thomas Mann, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Oliver Cooper, Dax Flame, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Alexis Knapp and Miles Teller (Footloose). The behind-the-scenes creative team includes cinematographer Ken Seng (Step Up 3D), production designer Bill Brzeski (The Hangover films, Due Date), editor Jeff Groth (TV's "Entourage"), and costume designer Alison McCosh (assistant costume designer, The Hangover films).
It was only supposed to be a small party, fifty people or so; over fifteen-hundred showed up to Thomas' 17th birthday and a quiet street in suburban Pasadena, California will never be the same. This is Project X, a found-footage film about one teenager's birthday party that goes completely out of control. This is also about as simpleminded a movie can possibly be as it is ALL about the party, and not about substance or character development. That is not what makes Project X a toss-up on whether you will enjoy watching it, that happens because it is not very engrossing. This is hard to imagine considering the non-stop deluge of antics the screenwriters have thrown into the script. They even attempted a McGuffin with a Gnome, kind of, and that ended up being the highlight of the entire film--and quite literally when it illicit's fire.
Project X should be exciting, hilarious, and completely out-of-control so you cannot take your eyes off the screen. It is actually quite repetitive, ridiculous with the assumed stereotypes and cliche side story's, and all together a showcase of all the ways a teenager can partake in everything illegal for their age, or any age for that matter. You want the craziness, but you want it with a group of people who are fun to watch and the characters in Project X are not. The film could really do without any or all of them and just have had each person portrayed be an anonymous teenager who attended said party. Then at least there would not be the lame attempts at trying to get the viewer to connect with these pubescent boys who are obsessed with women's breasts, and gaining popularity over responsibility.
Project X makes getting laid, drinking and drug-use, naked girls, and crazy stunts look tedious. How this is possible is shocking because it is all-out craziness what the party-goers do to Thomas' parent's house and each other. The film is edited together to display portions of events that will ultimately culminate into complete chaos. High School life itself is repetitive, and so are the events in Project X; scattered throughout are some moments that are unforgettable, just not enough of them. If there was a way to walk into the movie an hour in and just watch the climax you would be more than satisfied--best of luck if you watch it from the beginning.
When the credits roll on Project X three things come to mind when you think back on what you just witnessed on screen. First off, you immediately decide you never want to have children, and especially not a daughter if this is in fact the way teenage girls act today in society. Secondly, you are ashamed, disappointed, and shocked by the way the same said teenage girls are portrayed in the film. Thirdly, you consider if screenwriters Matt Drake and Michael Bacall just may be imagining what the older generation thinks the current generation of soon-to-be adults is like today--and that they in fact have no clue. Or, you may assume they were both the titular geek-boy in high school, who dreamed of being popular, and therefore sat down one day and decided to write what they imagine-to-be what could-have-been the greatest night of their lives in high school; had they of course had the chance. When it is all said and done Project X is a film focused heavily on the outrageous possibilities one party can bring to three unsuspecting nerds in high school. It is not focused on being a memorable teen film for what it says about being a teenager, and maybe it should have been.
Project X could have been epic, and epic beyond anything seen in previous teen films. Getting stuck under a glass table a la Sixteen Candles is nothing compared to the shenanigans that go on in Project X. With all of the outrageous stunts, nudity, flame throwers, daredevil stunts of stupidity, drug usage, excessive drinking, and the list could go on, there isn't much of a story in Project X besides portraying all of the aforementioned things as much as possible. A consistent use of montages highlights the partying, and the interludes with the forgettable characters are more there for posterity sake--and to give you a break from the debauchery for a moment as it can be exhausting. The three main characters, Thomas, Costa and J.B. are possibly the most uninteresting teenage boys. Costa is written as the obnoxious New York import to California you can fathom; and his "charms" wear off within minutes. Each time he appears on screen afterwards makes your skin crawl. Thomas is the good boy, the one who's 17th birthday is the backdrop for the party. Thomas is bland and boring and the side-story of him being in love with his long-time best friend Kirby is only included to attempt at making Project X look like a coming-of-age story with meaning. The only meaning behind Project X is to show how crazy a party can get, and how out of control a teenager can be when given the possibility. Going to see Project X should not be done if you actually want to feel invested in the characters, or even mildly think. This is a movie all about the party. It is similar to watching a YouTube video that has gone viral because it is shocking...you watch it for the sensationalism, not because you want to make sure the cat who got flushed down the toilet is going to be okay. No one cares what happens to Thomas, Costa, and J.B. as long as the party is fun to watch, and it is, for the most part, only because of the complete anarchy dream everyone has had coming true.
March 2, 2012