Review: Project X
PLOT: Three high-schoolers throw a house party that quickly spirals out of control.
REVIEW: I remember when PROJECT X was announced in the trades. HANGOVER director Todd Phillips, was on-board Godfathering the hush-hush project, which did a massive coast-to-coast talent search last year to find the three unknowns who were going to star. The premise was kept under wraps until the time the first trailer came out, when it was finally revealed that PROJECT X was a house-party movie, shot in the first-person manner that's all the rage these days with movies like THE DEVIL INSIDE and CHRONICLE.
The house party genre is pretty much a staple of teen movies, but I doubt it's ever been done the way it has in PROJECT X. Here, it's less of a party than a cataclysmic event that spirals insanely out of control. It starts off quietly enough, with the protagonist, Thomas (Thomas Mann) about to turn seventeen. His crazy friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) talks him into throwing a house party to mark the occasion, while his parents are conveniently out of town. Along with their schlubby third-wheel, JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown)- the three guys put the word out at their high school, but when Costa puts an ad up on Craigslist- things go wildly out of control, with several thousand people showing up in a night packed with booze, drugs, and sex.
Suffice to say, the house party in PROJECT X goes way further than any other teen comedy house party I can think of. It's really in the tradition of Phillips' HANGOVER, with everything amped up to the nth degree. Whether or not PROJECT X is your thing or not really depends on what your tolerance is for watching people get fucked up. Imagine the slide-show from the end of HANGOVER as a movie of it's own, and that's what you get with PROJECT X.
Director Nima Nourizadeh hails from a documentary background, and the film is passed off as another found-footage type romp- although the opening disclaimer, which tries to make you believe it's real, shouldn't fool anyone. The film only really gels after the first half hour or so, once the party gets under way, and anyone hoping to see lots of hot T&A will surely not be disappointed, with this being the horny dude wish-fulfilment to the extreme.
I had a good enough time with it I suppose, although the three leads are about as two-dimensional as you can get in a film like this- although Cooper's manic energy carries the film through the early slow patches. To this extent, I'm sure Phillips had the writers take a look at the three guys from HANGOVER and especially OLD SCHOOL to give us the stock characters that work in those film. You get the normal guy (Mann), the crazy, fast-talking one (Cooper- obviously modelled on Vince Vaughn's role in OLD SCHOOL), and the schlub (Brown). These stock characters can be forgiven, as it's a formula that seems to be working, and while it's stretched thin, it holds together for the relatively scant 88 minute running time well enough.
The last half-hour of PROJECT X is going to be the part of the film that will either make it a classic for some, or have you look for the nearest exit- as things get CRAZY. I don't want to give anything away, other than to say by the time the party ends houses and cars will be destroyed, and a flame-thrower wielding drug-dealer may or may not live through the night. Yup, that's the kind of ride you're in for if you buy a ticket to PROJECT X. I had fun with it for the most part, even if it's totally disposable entertainment. It probably doesn't demand being seen on the big-screen, and probably the best way to enjoy it is while sharing a couple dozen beers (and bong hits) with a couple of pals. However. considering that good comedies seem to be few and far between this winter, you could do worse.
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|Extra Tidbit:||This is the kid that inspired PROJECT X. Yeah, the guys in this movie are more likable than he is -- thank God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcOXf-U1ZRA|