Think of the wildest, craziest, most insane party you’ve ever been to. Think about the pretty girls, the hunky men, the loud music and the bountiful booze. Think of how it began to spin out of control. Now think of the one defining moment at that party where you thought to yourself, “This is too much for me.” Now take that memory and multiply it by 100. That’s where Project X lies. Its main goal (well, its only goal really), is to make you laugh by putting up on the screen the biggest, most deranged and morally uninhibited party you’ve ever seen. For those still at that partying age (or those who should be acting like adults by now but still prefer to act like idiots), Project X will interest you. I, however, found it hopelessly unfunny, offensive and a total waste of 90 minutes of my life.
There isn’t much of a story in Project X beyond its set up, which involves an upcoming birthday bash for Thomas (Thomas Mann). He’s still in high school and he isn’t very popular, so along with the help of his buddies, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), he sets out to throw the biggest bash his school body has ever seen while Dax (Dax Flame) records it all on camera.
And the resulting movie is as shallow as that plot synopsis. From the moment we meet these kids, especially Costa, who is introduced grabbing his crotch and singing the lyrics to one of the more provocatively titled 2 Live Crew songs, we immediately dislike them. They’re annoying, loud, perverted and sexist, continually referring to women as “hoes” and “bitches.” They’re little more than narrow-minded twits whose main goal for the night is to get laid, regardless of the destruction they cause around them. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt in the process, just as long as they have fun. Everyone at the party acts like such buffoons that at one point, a grown man who lives across the street comes over and physically assaults one of them. Although such abuse is certainly not appropriate in the real world, this is one of the only movies I think I’ve ever been okay with an adult punching a young child in the face.
Their attitude and behavior is, of course, supposed to be funny, but instead it’s just kind of sad. There is nary a laugh to be had in this abysmal wasteland. As I know some will argue, the comedic value of Project X comes from taking every party movie you’ve ever seen and combining them, culminating in the most over-the-top and ridiculous backyard spectacle ever, but such a narrow focus isn’t inherently funny. It’s what you do with it that will make or break it. Unfortunately, absurdity doesn’t always equal hilarity and it’s simply not funny watching a handful of high school teenagers get high on ecstasy and drunk off tequila, knowing that their actions will most likely result in time behind bars. It’s not funny watching someone drive a car into a pool. It’s not funny watching the police show up to stop a riot that has broken out in the middle of suburbia. And it’s certainly not funny when one of them hands a baby a small bottle of alcohol. It’s just kind of troubling. It’s exclusion of a story just makes the movie so much worse because without the laughs coming, it has nothing to fall back on. It’s not funny, but it’s also not dramatic, sweet, charming or interesting. It’s just there, like it or not.
In keeping with the recent trend, Project X is a found footage movie (of sorts) and everything you see is captured by a character in the movie walking around with a camera. Aside from a couple of switches where the onscreen action switches to footage captured on someone’s camera phone, most changes in perspective break the established rule of one character documenting everything. Angles and cuts that wouldn’t be possible with a single camera set-up are prominently on display here. Furthermore, the use of shaky cam is nauseating, to the point where I almost had to leave the theater to go heave. Such qualms could be overlooked (yes, even the nausea) if the film provided laughs, but it doesn’t. Project X is immature, stupid, loud and unworthy of your time
Project X receives 0.5/5