Movie review – Project X
– by Julia Brown
Project X is the kind of movie that is both baffling and a bit unnerving if you are not part of its target demographic. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh and produced by Todd Phillips of The Hangover fame, it is part teen party movie and part Blair Witch Project, if Blair Witch involved overly-pretty young people partying in slow-mo backed by a hip-hop/house music soundtrack.
The plotline, of you can even call what happens a “plot,” is as follows: nerdy try-hard Costa (Oliver Cooper) decides to throw an epic seventeenth birthday party for his equally nerdy friend Thomas (Thomas Mann) at Thomas’ house while his parents are away for the weekend. The main goal of the party being to lift Costa, Thomas and their chubby pal J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) out of the ranks of the social pariah and also possibly to get them all laid. All of this is captured in “found footage” style by their goth friend Dex. What follows is pretty much what you’d expect, except on a more disturbingly chaotic scale.
Now, don’t get me wrong – Nourizadeh and Philips seem to know what they are doing, judging by the multiple scenes involving topless young girls jumping around in a bouncy castle, swimming in the pool, and shaking their asses to the omnipresent party music. That Girls Gone Wild sort of approach will definitely sell more than a few tickets.
Aside from ticket sales goals, there is not much more to Project X, though. It is tempting, as some critics have done, to discuss this film in terms of What is Wrong With the Youth Today, but really, the movie is just showcasing what generations of kids have always felt – namely that parents just don’t understand and that you gotta fight for your right to party. The fact that the opening scene of the movie features Costa singing along with 2 Live Crew’s “We Want Some Pussy” is a conscious signal that these kids are just carrying on a certain type of partying tradition.
Indeed, if you are appalled by what goes on in this flick, then that just means you’re too old. The only difference is that nowadays, the bar for what constitutes a good time has been raised so high, nothing short of an actual riot will suffice.
Project X is aimed at the 15-to-25 crowd, so if you are a member of that cohort and you also enjoy partying on an “epic” sort of scale, you’ll likely find this movie both amusing and invigorating – after all, these are your peeps on-screen, and damn you look cool, don’t you? Everyone else will likely just spend most of the film, like I did, worrying if Thomas’ family dog is going to survive the party. Overall, Project X caters to the tastes of its intended audience and leaves the rest of us shaking our heads and muttering to ourselves, “Kids these days.”