Project X (2012)
Starring Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown
Written by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
The “big party” has been the focus of many films before; in fact each decade seems to possess its own high point in the genre. Be it Animal House in the 70’s, Revenge of the Nerds and House Party in the 80’s, American Pie in the 90’s, and Superbad in the last 10 years, each of these films possessed endearing characters that we could follow throughout whatever wild antics ensued. Project X really wants to be in this group; they want to be “the” party movie for this generation. In the end, while I give it points for ambition, it falls a little short in execution.
Thomas’ (Mann) parents are leaving for the weekend, on the same day as his birthday, and entrusting the house to him. While Thomas wants desperately to have a party in order to establish himself to the “cool” kids he is currently ostracized from, he also wants to protect his parents’ trust and keep the volume of the party reasonable. This however is not the plan of Costa (Cooper), Thomas’ best friend, who is determined to make the two of them and their other friend J.B. (Brown) the talk of the entire school. This leads Costa to invite everybody in the school and neighborhood, even going as far as posting the event on Craigslist. He hires “security” for the party in the form of a couple of younger kids, who end up with some of the funniest sequences in the entire film, and who naturally become less effective as the night carries on. Before the chaos begins we see the trio with Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton), the proverbial hot girl who Thomas has been friends with since they were small kids and will inevitably end up hooking up by the end of the night. We’ve seen this before, in fact most of Project X we’ve seen before. When everybody ends up showing up in the thousands, people of all ages, the party quickly devolves to chaos. The entire film is shot “found footage” style with all the clips from various types of camera are spliced together to create the film.
While we have seen most of this before there were some things I had to admire. Firstly, the toll of the evening is shown on the faces and attire of the leads throughout the night, nobody is still “fresh as a daisy” at 3am after drinking constantly. The wear and tear of the evening can be seen visually and felt through the characters as the film goes on. Secondly, I had to admire the “nothing is too big/crazy” mentality of the filmmakers; this film goes well over the top and keeps going for more. And of course the film comes down to its leads, who do a decent job in carrying the film, though they lack in character development and as such are less memorable than characters in the movies I talked about prior.
Project X is hardly a film to dissect fully; the film has plot holes big enough to drive one of those new TTC rocket trains through, but if you can turn the analytical part of the “grey matter” off and focus on having a good time with the film you probably will. One unfortunate part of this film is the lack of a follow-up afterwards; the kids cause nearly 1 million in damages and get away with the most lenient of penalties. This fact and the chatter overheard from the younger parts in attendance at the screening, lead me to believe that someone will try to reenact the events of the film at some point in time. The film is loosely based on a house party thrown by a kid in Australia that caused $20,000 in damage, yet ended up without any arrests. If this happens I only hope my apartment isn’t trashed like everything is in this film! Overall not a wasted outing to the theater, but also not something you’re likely to be talking about a week later.
Admittedly I am not the target audience for this film and the high school/college crowd will probably find more to love about Project X, and that is great. My advice to them is to seek out the films I talked about at the beginning of this review if they have not seen them. I would hope they can then see that Project X is merely standing on the shoulders of these classic films, but not quite joining them as an equal.
Til Next Time
Kirk “Movie Junkie TO” Haviland
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