Rule # 1: Turn-off your brain before entering the theater.
Rule # 2: Seriously. Turn-off your intelligence muscle.
You must look at Project X from two perspectives. As far as cleverness goes for a fake-documentary that plays in the crude high-school comedy genre, it really doesn’t do anything groundbreaking. Over-the-top? Yes. Memorable or innovative? Eh, not so much. In fact, the majority of the 88 minutes underachieve due to lack of creativity. Having said that, this does have a strange energy to it; which has the ability to keep you mildly interested.
But in the end; observing three high school friends – with their own unique, and clichéd, personas – throwing the party of the century in one of their parents’ home in hopes of becoming cool – isn’t anything new. And all you have to hear is the regurgitated dialogue from teen-sex comedy’s past to solidify that. So knowing that…Prediction: this flick will be looked upon as a worthless entry in the grand scheme of things.
But (if you’ll allow me to use another “but”) the hand-held footage – which is executed in a satisfactory manner – does spark something inside of you as this fairly obvious shtick unfolds. Yet, it’s just a spark. And since it does conjure up an emotion here-n-there, whether it would be laughter or eye-rolls, this is not a complete party foul. However, you would be wise to save your money and just wait for American Pie 4 (American Reunion) to come out in April to satisfy your R-rated palate.
This is a film for the YouTube generation. The entire thing is a giant spliced homemade video that really only belongs on the internet platform. Having Todd Phillips (director of The Hangover 1 & 2) produce this is the sole reason why this is in theaters. And being a film connoisseur, this is why it’s tough to get behind this product; when all it really is, is a cheap production that is guaranteed to make a profit. Business-wise, it makes perfect sense. Artistic-wise, it’s trending toward pathetic.
And yes, all yours truly is supposed to do here is review the sucker. So here’s why it’s just meh…
Everything enacted here has already been done before ad nauseam. The first half is nothing more than a documentary version of the first installment in the American Pie franchise, sans in-depth character development; which we don’t need, because if one has seen a handful of these types of products, they’ve already met the characters before. What gets woven in to this is a subtle coming-of-age theme, commonly seen in flicks such as Can’t Hardly Wait and You Drive Me Crazy. You can even break it down to a single moment in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when Cameron allows Ferris to talk him into taking out his father’s prized sports car even though they know disaster is lurking right around the corner. That moment is what this entire “project” is all about. Times ten.
Once the party gets going early on, the script bits are hit-n-miss. Besides showing a ton of gratuitous topless chicks in the backyard pool, people making out, getting sick, jumping off roofs, more boobs in the inflatable bouncy house, binge drinking all around, and one angry dwarf, there isn’t anything all that stimulating or inventive until the insanely random climatic moment at the end. And while this climatic moment, and the second-half of the movie for that matter, has a train-wreck appeal to it, it just isn’t as funny as other R-rated pieces that tackle this storyline. That being said, the party’s young security guards were a nice touch, and these sequences represented the handful of creative bits laced sporadically in this giant skit. Another was the ring-leader/more-or-less narrator of the threesome, Oliver Cooper, who does some nice work and captures the modern-day high school student. That’s a scary thought by the way.
And for the record, this guy isn’t that far removed from those days either. Of course the filmmakers want to show the party of your dreams but they seemingly contradict themselves too many times along the way as they hop between the line of actuality and fantasy. Which leads to you, well, me, to wonder what was the point?
Now if you have not been exposed to these types of films as much as I, then this could be end up being your visual party bible. Similar to how many of us now watch The Hangover prior to partaking in a bachelor party. Except The Hangover was pure hilarity. This plays more like The Hangover 2 (effortless dud).
Overall, Project X has a bit of nostalgia and some bold moments that can get you in the party mood. But looking at the entire landscape of films that have went this route, though not to this extreme, it’s barely average.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5