Every few years there’s a film which promotes wild partying, sex, drugs and rock and roll. Whatever the generation, it serves as blueprint as to what ‘cool’ parties should look like and currently, for 17 year-olds across the globe, Project X serves that purpose. Based loosely around the urban legends of out-of-control house parties which were advertised on Facebook and Myspace following the whole ‘Skins’ phenomenon, the movie is sold as a hand-held home video of a party that goes terribly wrong.
Like Cloverfield, but with booze and girls in bikini’s then?
Written by Michael Bacall and produced by The Hangover‘s Todd Philips, we see awkward 17 year-old Thomas (Thomas Manning) planning a birthday party with his closest friends; the smart-mouthed Costa (Oliver Cooper) and the nerdy J.B (Jonathan Daniel Brown). The opening credits include an official apology to the residents of North Pasidena so when Thomas protests that he only wants to invite ‘about thirty at the most’ guests, you know he’s in for a long night.
Whilst misfit AV-student Dax (Dax Flame) captures the action on camera, we see the trio invite everybody at their high school to the shindig before picking up hundreds of dollars’ worth of booze and heading downtown to buy some marijuana from former soldier and sketchy drug dealer T-Rick (Rick Shapiro). With Thomas’s crush Kirby on the guest list as well as the hottest girl in school, Alexa, the guys seem all set for the big night.
By 9pm nobody has turned up to the party and the guys’ seem disheartened. However, soon enough kids start arriving in hordes leading to a crazy, booze-fuelled rave in the backyard.
Though endurable and mildly entertaining to watch, you can’t help but a) worry about all the damages that Thomas’s expensive, middle class suburban home is about to endure and b) marvel at how ridiculously far-fetched the entire party sequence is. The very idea that three nobodies could generate such a crowd in one day is utterly inconceivable, whilst minds will be blown when you see the calibre of females throwing themselves topless into Thomas’s swimming pool. Nobody in high school looks like a supermodel in their mid-20’s for crying out loud!
Assuming that the fantasy is the main attraction to this movie, things all go awry when Thomas’s neighbour calls the cops and things quickly descend into chaos. Thomas’s poor dog Milo suffers the most as he finds himself in some compromising situations, whilst a midget, probably the ‘funniest’ and least politically correct thing the screen-writers could think of, launches a mass attack on the collective groins of the male guests. Alas, this ends up being the worst party of the decade since Hannibal Lecter did Come Dine With Me.
Attempting to replicate the gross-out comedy and quick-witted, smutty foul-mouthed humour of Superbad, the ‘routing for the nerds’ charm of Weird Science and the ‘frat-pack’ partying of Animal House or Old School, Project X falls horribly short as the trio come off as a bunch of spoilt, mean and idiotic brats.
Thomas is suitably wet and whiny whilst Costa leaves a sour taste in the mouth as a borderline misogynistic smug bully. The ‘raw footage’ shots (which somehow seem to be in slow-motion and treated by after-effects most of the time) get old quickly as all we see for most of the runtime is rich teenagers writhing in self-indulgence and showing absolutely no compassion for the host’s precious family Mercedes. I always knew there was a reason people hated youth culture.
There are a few laughs but overall the film is just embarrassingly self-aware, much like the try-hard kids it revolves around. It’s almost definitely the kind of movie that sixteen year-old boys and first year university students will go and see to revel at the oh-so-un-erotic twelve pairs of breasts that appear throughout before exclaiming to each other how they ‘should have a party like that! It would be awesome, yeah!’.
Project X tries so hard to be hip and different but instead it results in face-palming frustration. It lacks all the charm and sophistication of the classic teen-flicks it tries so desperately to emulate and, in turn, will still not deter people from getting up to the same kind of egocentric crap as the douche-bags we see here. Bad times.
Worst bit: The long, tenuous montage of stuff that would never happen in real life.
Best character: The random middle-aged guy at the party who serves as a water-shed Frank The Tank.
Best line: ‘I’m gonna go and have a long cry and then start calling some lawyers’.