reviews\ Mar 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

Project X review


If I wanted to watch sleazy teens grab at their balls and boast about plans of getting their dicks wet and chasing pussy I could have saved some money and loitered in front of the movie theater. Instead, I was treated to these charming characters via Project X, a film too lazy to have a real name—I shouldn't be surprised it didn't have any real characters.

The film combines the seriously overplayed found-footage genre with the teen party movie, and tosses in a dash of barely legal girls-gone-wild action. It focuses on three boys, Thomas, Costa, and JB, as they plan the typical parents-are-gone mega-party for Thomas's birthday. To document the event, Costa enlists Dax, a quiet goth kid from the film club. Despite being dressed like a costumed crime fighter, Dax is barely addressed throughout the entire movie. He seems to have teleporting powers as well, dashing from one angle to another in a dizzying, shaky-cam blitz.

Once the paper-thin pretense is out of the way, the party begins. This is the crux of the film—capturing the wildest high school party of all time on film, and watching as it escalates out of control. This is the one aspect where Project X is successful. Loud music, dancing, crazy antics, police, and eventually a drug dealer with a flamethrower all make for 90 minutes of entertaining hedonism. I was never bored watching Project X, and that's the one nice thing I can say about it.

Perhaps as an exercise in providing the lowest level of film entertainment, Project X could have been a unique and interesting success. Unfortunately, it tells a story, it tries to build characters, and in the end, the lame effort paints the whole thing in a bad light. Costa in particular may be one of the most sniveling little pigs ever committed to film, and he was supposed to be one of the protagonists. The creators tried to capture the attitudes of horny young guys, but there's a fine line that films like Superbad walk effortlessly, and Project X just fell drunkenly flat on its face.

Speaking of the creators, I think they may have gone too far in their portrayal of teens. They're not underage by any stretch, but the kids in this film look uncomfortably young. I already felt a bit gross watching high school girls rip their tops off, then the camera starts zooming up skirts and focusing on shaking asses, and I can't help but wonder if someone behind the scenes is getting off on this.

If there's some heart to Project X, it's in the blossoming relationship between Thomas, the birthday boy, and his long-time friend Kirby. If only it wasn't so painfully typical. By far the most attractive and likable character in the film, Kirby is cool in every possible way, but it wasn't until this party that Thomas noticed. Really!? If the film was trying to capture realistic teens, it should be plainly obvious that they'd have been all over each other a long time ago.

Just as Thomas and Kirby realize their feelings, along comes Alexis, the “hottest” girl at the party. She gets in the way, Kirby catches her with Thomas, he runs off to apologize, blah blah blah. The attempt at giving the movie a heart and plot rings so false that it really just gets in the way.

I kind of wish Project X could have been even more soulless, even wilder, and plot-less. It could have been an interesting experiment that lived up to its name. Instead of raising the bar for the teen comedy, Project X starts to lift and then just pukes all over it.

About The Author
Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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