Project X is the code-name of the 17th birthday party of Thomas – the party which he and his friends hope will somehow make them popular. Do they succeed and is the film worth you cinema dollar? Read our review after the jump.
The quick answer is, no. This film doesn’t even deserve to be called a film. It is little more than the drunken and drugged up antics of a group of horrible teenagers, edited together for your viewing pleasure. There is so much wrong with this movie and almost nothing right. The sad thing is the target demographic will probably go out and see it (or download it) in force and absolutely love it. Inspired loosely by Australian teenager Corey Delaney & his infamous party, it is bound to entertain some and thoroughly disgust others.
The film is centred around Thomas (Thomas Mann) and his two friends Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown). Thomas’s parents have gone out of town to celebrate their anniversary (which conveniently falls on Thomas’s birthday) and boys decide to have a party. Thankfully Thomas and his friends know a guy in the AV club who they rope in to film the whole day. We see the party chiefly through his camera – from its conception in the morning, through to its conclusion sometime the next day. Occasionally the footage switches from his camera to the cellphone cameras of the party-goers.
A cautious Thomas reluctantly agrees they can invite 50 people max, but Costa has other ideas and sends out mass invites via text & email – he even calls a radio station to get them to pimp it out. Luckily for Thomas he lives in a large house with an even larger backyard, complete with a pool and massive deck. Money seemingly isn’t an issue for the boys too, with a DJ hired, plenty of food, a blow-up castle, and other party paraphernalia. Of course this party was never going to have only 50 people. What starts off as a guy and a girl playing a video game, quickly escalates into something none of the boys could ever have imagined. The rest of the film follows the boys throughout the night, documenting the party through to its conclusion.
The film looks like a series of badly put together YouTube videos. Because it’s “filmed” by a teenage boy, it’s shaky, blurry, and just all over the place. While the self-filmed/handycam style works for some films, it does absolutely nothing for this film except add to its general awfulness. It comes as no surprise that Todd Phillips (director of The Hangover) is associated with this film. If you were offended by The Hangover, then you won’t want to touch this with a barge-pole.
It’s all very well to make jokes about stereotypes for some humour, but this film just takes everything too far. Fat people, women, people of colour, older people, gays – no one except young straight white men are off-limits. They say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but actually the lowest form of wit or humour is gay slurs. If you resort to using gay slurs as insults or jokes, then you really ought to have just kept your mouth shut. It’s offensive and crude and in no way funny. This happens more than once and is quite frankly disgusting and unforgivable.
The objectification of women – in particular that of drunk teenage girls is repulsive. Scenes in this film watch more like a “Girls Gone Wild” video than a film. The girls are never given any depth or dimension, and are treated as mere objects that are to be pursued and used for sexual purposes. Films have shown drunk hook-ups at parties before, but the way this film somehow glorifies drunken public sexual encounters will make your skin crawl. The one female character that looks like she could have half a brain turns out to be weak-minded and folds to the male character’s will practically without question.
Teen party-films aren’t new. For as long as there has been teenagers, there have been parties taking place behind the backs of their parents. Something about this is different though – and not in a good way. Perhaps it’s the fact that the 3 main characters (and in particular Costa) have no redeemable qualities; or maybe it’s just the overall mean-spiritedness of the film. It could be the fact that it promotes disgusting behaviour as something that will get you friends and earn you respect – consequences aren’t something the film dwells on. However, the key difference is this party is “self-filmed” and the film acts as if it is real party, that the footage is of actual events and not a movie. Something about that fake realism adds a whole new level of sleaze.
Overall this film is utter garbage – it’s badly made and represents the absolute very worst of young people. Sadly, the type of people depicted in this party are going to absolutely love this film. They will revel in it’s filth and wish that they too could attend such an epic party. The rest of us will just feel hungover and sick to the stomach.
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer(s): Matt Drake & Michael Bacall
Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown
Runtime: 88 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: March 1st 2012
Images via Collider