Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Project X

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh.

2012. Rated R, 88 minutes.
Thomas Mann
Oliver Cooper
Jonathan Daniel Brown
Kirby Bliss Blanton
Alexis Knapp
Dax Flame
Brady Hender
Nick Nervies
Peter Mackenzie
Rick Shapiro

Thomas (Mann), Costa (Cooper) and JB (Brown) are a trio of friends who’ve had a pretty non-descript high school existence. They plan on changing that tonight. Thomas’ parents are going out of town for the weekend and the boys have already planned to throw a major party in hopes of becoming known as cool and getting laid. After all, it is Thomas’ birthday though he is understandably a bit reluctant. He’s afraid things might get out of hand and then he’ll be in big trouble. Still, he goes along with the program. Costa acts as promoter. Against his buddy’s better wishes, he invites anyone within earshot. It soon becomes apparent he’s invited everyone else, too. JB is mostly just along for the ride and to be insulted by the obnoxious Costa. Dax (Flame) has been hired by the boys to film the whole thing for our viewing pleasure so yes, we see everything through the lens of the video camera he’s holding.

Anything else I might say about the setup is just an unimportant detail. Our boys go around inviting more and more people and try to secure some booze and weed for their “little” get-together. Eventually, we get to the party. During this time we meet the hot chick Thomas lusts after and of course, the girl who’s always been there. No surprise as to which one he’ll wind up with.

Unless you’re at the point in your life where you’ve only recently been allowed to watch rated R movies, nothing about any of the above is new to you. However, Project X makes no pretenses of being about anything other than teenaged testosterone-fueled debauchery. It merely aims to multiply the chaos present in the previous films of its ilk. At this, it succeeds wildy. In fact, the only place Project X differentiates itself is in scope. The ensuing party is exponentially more massive than anything dreamed up by those other movies. Literally thousands of revelers pack a suburban block while dancing, drinking (or indulging other substances), fighting, breaking things and/or setting them on fire. In this particular movie, spectacle equals substance.

With no purpose other than being “bigger” than other teen sex comedies, Project X progresses as such movies must. The boys worry when no one shows up right at the time the party is supposed to start. After a while, a couple dozen folks arrive all at once. They’re soon followed by waves and waves of drunken humanity. Things quickly get out of hand and keep spiraling further out of control. For us boys of all ages, emphasis on the word ‘boys’, it’s a blast to watch. It’s all aided by an obvious violation of the movie’s own rules that we don’t really mind. Our loan cameraman often seems to be in several places at once and have several different types of cameras even though we only see one. In short, we’re getting nothing other than hyperkinetic visuals and crass humor. Those are the same two elements that make up the Transformers movies. However, this doesn’t wear us down the way those flicks do. Where Mr. Bay’s two and a half hour jackhammers pound us into submission, this doesn’t last much more than an hour and taps into our truer youthful (i.e. immature) fantasies. Smashing robots together as a kid was great but we really wish we could’ve thrown a party like this.

Also like a Transformers movie, I’m not sure how much appeal Project X has for the ladies. It may have even less since the nostalgia of the 80s toy line and cartoon isn’t there and is replaced by children behaving badly. More precisely it’s the little boys behind the camera projecting bad behavior onto the little boys in front of it in order to impress even more little boys. They’re trying to win the biggest pissing contest. It’s about showing they had the most property destruction and naked girls at their party and got away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Simply, it’s a depiction of our wildest lies about sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. It is nothing more. It offers no great insight into the adolescent male mind. It’s story and characters are wholly derivative. Given that now, perhaps more than ever before, some viewers are driven to emulate pop culture and pine to draw attention to themselves, it’s socially irresponsible. If anyone wishes to condemn this movie on these grounds, I can’t argue with them. That said, Project X exists to titillate and does its job.

MY SCORE: 7/10

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