‘Project X’ Review
A crazy party to witness, but without any depth or originality
‘Project X’ is a surprisingly hard movie to review. Not because it’s deep and multi-layered – it doesn’t have a hint of those things. But while it’s quite a lot of fun and does succeed in creating a crazy party comedy that it wished for, it’s also entirely meaningless and promotes destructive behavior as something cool. Not to mention it liberally rips off movies that came before it. Will teens care though? Not at all.
The film follows three loser friends who are dorks in high school and constantly get bullied by the cool kids. When one of their parents decides to go away for the weekend, they decide to use the opportunity to host the biggest birthday party in the house and invite everyone to have themselves become cool once and for all. But while the party looks like a success, it pretty soon escalates into mayhem and goes out of control in ways they never would have imagined.
Let’s just begin with this – if you fall into the kind of audience that this movie is directly marketing itself to, then you’re going to see this movie regardless and enjoy the hell out of it. None of what I say below is going to matter because the movie directly appeals to the sensibilities of the party-going young audience and is a wish-fulfillment fantasy aimed straight at them. And on that front, it actually succeeds. If you’re here looking for the craziest party ever shown on screen, rest assured that you’re going to find that here. It’s a crazy R-rated comedy at the core where relatable dorky teenagers decide to throw the biggest party possible in order to become cool and get laid. It’s a relatable premise for most teenagers and not too far from the truth, and the party itself smartly reflects how parties like these usually begin. Pretty soon though, more and more people begin to drive and the crowd becomes varied – it’s not just young people anymore. There are kids, elders, creepy people, jocks, violent folks, and even a pissed off midget thrown in there. Slowly, the party spirals out of control and it’s a lot of fun to see those shocking moments on screen as things escalate further into craziness.
And that’s when the movie really goes off the charts and into full-on riot mode. While the proceedings are fun to watch in the sense that you’re pretty much aghast as to how a general party ended up like this, there’s something drastically wrong underneath it. You would think that the movie would actually be a cautionary tale about how parties like these can run out of control, but it’s not like that at all. Instead, it gives out a very disturbing message that all the destructive behavior that takes place is much worth it in the name of having a ‘great night’. A couple of human beings clearly die, fire breaks out and a lot of other seriously dangerous activities take place but no matter – the audience is supposed to have fun with it. It’s this element of the film that ends up seriously hurting the value of the film. It might be fun to watch the proceedings happen the first time around in terms of shock value, but they won’t hold up the second time around. Usually what holds up on a second viewing is the thematic value of the film or any sort of character moment, both of which are something the movie sorely lacks. As the film ends, there are no serious repercussions for the mayhem caused. In fact, the events are actually applauded and lead to a very happy fantasy ending for the characters. It may be too much of stretch to ask for the right message from a movie marketed at youngsters, but I’m a 22 year old myself and still feel that it could have been an enjoyable movie without such a destructive theme behind it. And that what it is in the end – a lot of fun but ultimately shock moments that will not hold up the second time around.
As far as the story goes, there’s not a hint of originality here. The entire premise of loser guys trying to host a party in order to be cool and get laid is a direct lift from a much better film called ‘Superbad’ starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. The whole theme of the guy going after a hot girl but realising that his true love has been his female best friend all along has been done to death in a lot of romantic comedies. It’s a stale screenplay throughout, and that’s why there’s that level of mean spiritedness and crudeness that keeps you from figuring that out. The film has been shot in the found footage format similar to what ‘Chronicle’ was earlier this year, but executes it far less successfully. While ‘Chronicle’ tries to remain true to the fact that there’s someone filming the action all the time and goes for an authentic tone, ‘Project X’ chucks all of that out of the window and just uses it as nothing more than a gimmick. There are points where the movie easily changes camera angles in the same scene even when there’s only one camera at hand, and never bothers to explain how. Even the character holding the camera is never fleshed out and shown for more than a minute on screen.
I may be going hard on what is a party movie for youngsters, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not enough fun to be had here. Those who enjoy comedies of this sort will definitely get their money’s worth out of it, and I’m a guy who falls into that audience myself. But the lack of any sort of depth, a stale and unoriginal story along with a destructive message keeps this from being a true classic and more of an exploitative party flick that it ends up being.