REVIEW: Project X
Growing up, I went to plenty of parties, but never one when the parents were out of town. I always felt I missed out on something until I heard the time my younger cousin held such an affair, resulting in $1500 in property damage (in 1980 dollars). Call me uptight or a loser, much as Thomas (Thomas Mann), is in Project X.
Designed to be the ultimate party film, it was based on the recollections of various people who attended outrageous parties while parents were out of town. Cobbling the stories together, Michael Bacall and Matt Drake wrote a script and director Nima Nourizadeh sought out relative unknowns and total unknowns to populate the cast, giving it a fresh feel. Eight different camera systems were used including the main images purportedly shot by an AV studio Dax (Dax Flame) and cell phones given to various extras, who shot moments without others realizing it.
The $12 million film has more than made its money back while inspiring several aborted attempts at recreating the ultimate blowout for real. Coming to home video Tuesday, the Combo Pack contains seven more minutes of raunch in an extended cut along with the featurettes “Tallying up the Damage” and “Project X: Declassified”.
The basic problem with the film is that everything is amped up to the point of ridiculousness, without being grounded in any reality. While some have compared this with the 1970’s Animal House and 1980’s Risky Business, they have missed the point. Those films featured brilliant casting, terrific directing and a rhythm that allowed the really outrageous stuff to occur. This terrible film avoids any pretense.
It also is missing any sense of originality. We’ve seen it all before. Thomas is a loser, his parents are going out of town and tell him they know he’ll have people over regardless of what they say so Dad asks that they be kept out of his office and not to touch his car (telling you immediately that is exactly what will happen). Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) decide to turn the party into a birthday bash that will turn all three losers into heroes. The word spreads and people come by foot, car, and bus. Dozens becomes hundreds become thousands. Neighbors call the police, who somehow miss several hundred people in the backyard, and the party escalates out of control until the SWAT team is called in but by then so has the flame-throwing-toting drug dealer. Really.
The footage shows plenty of topless girls, drinking, dancing, and general partymaking. What’s missing is anyone to root for. Everyone attending the party is unlikeable save for the predictable love interest Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton). The film also lacks a set piece, the one truly original and memorable moment that gets people talking and makes the film immortal. This is just a wasted opportunity without any merit whatsoever.