Review: Project X

— by ADAM DALE —

Throwing the ultimate party that will be spoken about for years is every teenager’s dream, especially for those who are geeky, ignored or just plain anonymous at their schools. The ultimate party movie, “Project X,” is being brought to the big screen by first-time director Nima Nourizadeh and producer Todd Phillips (“Old School,” “The Hangover,” “Due Date”).

They take the concepts of a John Hughes movie — coming of age, teen angst, searching for who you are — and inject it with a lot of drugs and alcohol and then drop a bomb on it. That somewhat describes the chaos on the massive scale that is documented in this movie about a birthday party that just gets out of control.

This is the story about Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann) and the 17th birthday thrown for him by his two best friends, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), when his parents go out-of-town for their anniversary. You see the three teenagers are seniors in high school but have yet to be noticed by any girls or the popular kids. In an effort to change their image and luck, Thomas agrees to let his friend throw him a party. As the number of people invited continues to grow and the word begins to spread, Thomas, Costa and JB are completely unaware at how large their guest list will end up becoming. They hire a DJ, get a bounce house, decorate and get prepped for a night they hope to never forget — unaware where this evening will go.

When the guests finally begin to arrive in droves and beautiful girls start flooding into Thomas’s back yard, it seems like the party is a hit. With alcohol and numerous other drugs present, there are sure to be people talking about the party in the morning, but the guests keep coming and the scale of the soiree keeps growing. When celebrities start arriving, they know the word has spread beyond their intentions. As the night goes on, they seem to ignore the problems and enjoy themselves. Thomas even gets some alone time with the most popular girl in school, but the high can only last so long as things begin to careen out of control, and the party gains more attention from neighbors, the police and even the local news station. A celebration that will go down in history is what the three young men wanted; they just never figured it would be for the events that followed.

Just like with the recent release “Chronicle,” “Project X” uses the found footage way of filming in a way that takes the scale to a place never seen before. The movie starts off with a local high school student filming the birthday, but ends up using footage from helicopter cameras, squad car dashboard cameras, cell phones and more to make the viewer realize the scale of this social gathering to compare it to a chaotic Woodstock of teen binge-drinking, debauchery and loss of inhibitions.

The movie celebrates teen partying, drinking, sex, drug use and more and is exactly what its target audience wants to see. Even though this is a high school party, the movie is focused more on attracting a college-age crowd and is intended for adults — but high school kids will definitely be sneaking in to see it. It is an amusing movie that happens to be very funny and full of one-liners that will no doubt be quoted afterwards.

The best part about found-footage films is the chance to choose unknowns — which helps lend to the credibility of what you are seeing — and get some new faces up on the screen. I recognized a few of the people in the movie but it was nice to not see the same mid to late 20-year-olds portraying dorky or awkward teenagers again and discover some new talent. Some of the extended cast led to side stories which were fun to watch, but ultimately the movie always came back to what was happening with Thomas, Costa and JB. Some of the supporting actors were Alexis Knapp, Nichole Bloom, Dax Flame, Brady Hender, Nick Nervies, Martin Klebba, Miles Teller and Kirby Bliss Blanton.

This is a film about youth, indiscretions and mistakes made, but is there more to it than a massive party that careens out of control? Not really and I don’t think it is trying to have any hidden meaning. No major character developments happen through the course of the film. It is just a boisterous, chaotic ride that is funny, intense and meant to entertain and astonish you with how big this party can get and what could happen next. This is not a movie for the easily offended or impressionable.

In theaters now, “Project X” is rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem — all involving teens.

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1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Robert Stewart #

    Good review. That just about says it all!