Project X (2012) Directed by Nima Nourizadeh. Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown. IMDB says: “3 high school seniors throw a birthday party to make a name for themselves. As the night progresses, things spiral out of control as word of the party spreads.”
Project X is movie based on a whim of a story line and essentially purposed to be a hectic, over-the-top party movie of the current high school generation. It holds up in that sense, capitalizing on the current necessity to document your life and make it something that people will care about. This is the Facebook/Twitter/YouTube generation obsessed with themselves and self-representation. The use of the “found footage” approach worked for me in that I could see a bunch of high schoolers thinking the documentation of their party is worthwhile, which in conjunction with a cast of unknown actors created an illusion. It’s not that you’re fooled for a second into thinking this could be a real scenario (it’s way too ridiculous for that) but you can buy a little more that these could be real kids. Thomas Mann who plays the main party host especially captures the sort of guy you can completely see going to your high school, while Oliver Cooper plays the irredeemably dick-ish Costa, and Jonathon Daniel Brown is the super nerdy, but scene-stealing JB.
This movie isn’t any sort of mastery in film or a tale you can get some sort of meaning from–it’s about the joys of being young, dumb, and drunk. It takes the characterizations seen in Superbad, the absurdity of The Hangover scenarios, and the perversion of Skins to form a semblance of a movie. What really held by attention was how damn funny it was. No matter how many times I cringed at Costa’s incredibly douchey lines or the onslaught of supposedly high school-aged boobies, I consistently cracked up. I was expecting a lot of crazy spectacle, but the humor is what ultimately made the experience a positive one.
Whether you really like this movie or not probably depends on (1) how much enjoyment you can get out this current generation and (2) how much you can just let loose and enjoy Project X for its unabashed commitment to juvenile indulgence. At least with a running time of 88 minutes it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
What you see is what you get here with Project X. The film with the ambiguous title isn’t much more than a found footage film about a wild high school party. While the movie hangs thinly on the concept of nerds seeking popularity, it doesn’t manage to fit much more into its running time. Character development is ultra light, there isn’t much of an actual story and most of the driving force in the film stems from situational humor. How crazy can the party get? What is going to happen next? These are the questions you will frequently run through as a viewer, and while you might have some laughs along the way, I can’t guarantee any of the films goal will impress in the end.
The problems I seemed to have with Project X aren’t massive or completely unforgivable, but just so frequent that I never found myself fully able to enjoy the experience. Some of the main characters are annoying and the other ones I just didn’t really give that many shits about. The film is in fact “a parents worst nightmare” in that it has one of the WORST morals displayed since What’s Your Number? The flick also consists of something like 60 combined minutes of party montage footage which sort of just made me want to be at an actual party and not watching a fake one. Although… it did solidify my idea for my second feature film I would like direct (after the horror film “Household Sh*t That Will F*ck Your Life Up” or “HSTWFYLU”) which is essentially an entire coming-of-age film told via montages. Yeah, Project X makes me feel like that is truly possible. Anyway, the biggest factor working against the film for me was its inability to ever take things far enough. Like, don’t get me wrong, shit went wrong and out of control, but nothing beyond what I had seen in the trailer. I’ve been told that might have soured my opinion of the film, having witnessed a lot of it in the trailers that my cohorts had not seen, but nevertheless the movie just never reached its full potential.