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Movie Review: Project X

March 2, 2012

Project X – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

http://www.projectxthemovie.com

Release Date: March 2nd, 2012

Rated 18A for coarse language, sexual content, crude content, substance abuse and nudity

Running time: 88 minutes

Nima Nourizadeh (dir.)

Michael Bacall (screenplay & story)

Matt Drake (screenplay)

Thomas Mann as Thomas Kub

Oliver Cooper as Costa

Jonathan Daniel Brown as JB

Dax Flame as Dax

Kirby Bliss Blanton as Kirby

Miles Teller as Miles

Rob Evors as Rob

Rick Shapiro as T-Rick

Peter Mackenzie as Dad

Caitlin Dulany as Mom

©Warner Bros. Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), Thomas (Thomas Mann) and Costa (Oliver Cooper) in Project X.

Our reviews below:

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Project X Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

Project X is one of the most insane and out of control comedies ever put on screen.  This is a funny, sometimes gross and occasionally totally deranged movie that exists merely to show three high schoolers throw a birthday party that devolves into complete anarchy.  If these are qualities that you’re looking for in a film, then you might just have a lot of fun.  But if you are put off by the idea of watching a bunch of teenaged characters get drunk, do drugs and get naked at a house party gone wild, then you’ll likely prefer the entirely unrelated 1987 film of the same name that stars Matthew Broderick and a chimp.

The shy Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann), the womanizing Costa (Oliver Cooper) and the socially awkward JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) are three friends who just can’t seem to overcome the label of being losers at their high school.  So when Thomas’ parents go out of town on the weekend of his birthday, there’s a party going down at his house and the entire school ends up getting invited.  And it’s plus one.  The party comes at a time when Thomas is hoping to add more then friendship to his relationship with childhood friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton), and their social status is destined to be forever changed.  The film moves forward by showing us the party and how it all goes downhill.  As soon as Kid Cudi plays on the soundtrack, we just know the party is going to go “until the break of dawn, yo!”

As Project X is meant to be the secret “found footage” of this wild party expertly filmed by a creepy goth kid named Dax (Dax Flame) and on the phones of those attending the party, there isn’t much in the way of story or character development.  There often isn’t much more plot than a glorified music video.  But we are given just enough little details about the central teens to make them seem authentic.  At times, this feels as much like an experience as it does a movie, with an insane amount of chaotic energy chanelled through the film.  Many will find the entetainment value to come from witnessing how things spiral so downhill, and the final shot of the party before we cut to black is kind of epic.

Although not in the same high league as iconic teen films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, American Pie or Superbad, certain scenes do seem destined for cult classic status and a few of the lines will likely live on through novelty t-shirts.  Even if you find Project X unfunny and offensive as many inevitably will, you can’t argue the fact that the film does exactly what it sets out to do without any conceits of being something more.  Put simply, this is a movie that exists merely to show a teen party that gets insanely out of control, and for that it succeeds about as well as you can expect as a piece of wild entertainment.

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Project X Review by Erin V.  

** (out of 4)

The story, if you will, is simple.  17-year-old Thomas’ two friends throw him a birthday party while his parents leave him alone for the weekend.  Invites goes out via texting and social networking that there’s a party for anyone to come (+1) and soon the whole thing has 1500 people there and is out of control.  Drugs and alcohol abound, and pretty soon there’s also a few run-ins with neighbours and local cops to top it all off.

My biggest problem with the film is that although 88 minutes, it felt a little long to sustain itself.  Sure, you’re watching this huge train-wreck of a party for the last hour, but that’s really all you’re watching.  Not that I was bored per se, just not very engaged.  There is a bit of semblance of a story involving the main boy Thomas (who’s house the party is held at), as well as a few amusing moments, although again, it wasn’t enough to make it overly memorable.  This could have been a half hour short film in my book.  Part way through the middle, the party just feels like more of the same over and over, and had me checking my watch.

Filmed in the style of ‘found-footage,’ Project X is not really much to look at.  Often it is shaky and grainy, although for the party scenes it adds to the wildness of it.  The acting is fine as well.  Some will enjoy it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see this one personally.

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Project X Review by Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

Shot in a shaky, “found footage” style, Project X tells a disturbing tale of how quickly home parties can spiral out of control.  Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann) is a boy who everybody, including his own father, consider a “loser.”  The weekend of his 17th birthday, his parents take a vacation, leaving Thomas to mind the house.  His friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) talks Thomas into organizing a party in order to lose his virginity and achieve star status.  Thomas, along with Costa and a boy named JB (Jonathan Daniel Drown), invite 30 or so people, who quickly, through social media, exceed more than 1000.  All sorts of debauchery ensues, from binge drinking to vandalism and abuse of hard drugs.

Project X fails in that it is meant to be a comedy.  Personally, I do not find anything funny about teenagers abusing substances, destroying property, and teasing animals.  The AHA was on set, and no animals were harmed.  The most disturbing aspect about Project X is that, while it pretends to be “real,” nowhere does it show the characters sustain any serious injuries, and not one of the teens even gets sick from alcohol or drug poisoning.  The worst damage comes from an irate drug dealer, not the partying teens.  In fact, the film ends with Thomas and his friends being hailed as heroes, with only brief documentary-style word lists of their criminal convictions during the credits.

Nowhere do we see any real (and realistically, likely tragic) consequences.  Project X is a depressing and disturbing film that I can only recommend to sociology and psychology students as a thesis project.

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Project X Review by Maureen

** (out of 4)

Call me a party popper but I just didn’t find Project X to be all that much fun.  Told through the lens of amateur videographer Dax (Dax Flame), Project X chronicles the birthday party of all birthday parties for Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann) as he turns the ripe old age of 17.

Organized by his good buddy Costa (Oliver Cooper) and another friend JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), the big bash, planned to take place when Mom and Dad Kub (Caitlin Dulany & Peter Mackenzie) are away for the weekend, is supposed to transform young Thomas from school loser and bully bait to cool and babe magnet.  However the events that Costa sets in motion take on a life of their own and thanks to social media a manageable beer and girls night becomes an out of control party with mayhem, destruction and riot police.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The three lead characters are believable enough and the acting is decent.  There are some mildly funny moments of dialogue but the increasing levels of drunken behaviour, sexual activity and property destruction stops being funny fairly quickly.

It’s hard to believe that something could get that out of control without police stepping in sooner and without anyone getting hurt.  The end credits with an update on the legal consequences that the lead characters faced after the event seemed tacked on by the filmmakers as a half-hearted “don’t try this at home” warning.  With a hard 18A rating, teens won’t get a chance to see it in theatres.  Once it hits the market on DVD/Blu-ray, Project X will likely have a strong fanbase.  As for me, the shaky cam action alone is enough to keep me from watching this disaster movie again.

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Project X Review by Tony

** (out of 4)

Project X is meant to be the ultimate teenage house party disaster, and it delivers on that objective, if not much else.  Thomas (Thomas Mann) is a nerdy Pasadena CA high school senior. With the parents going away for his birthday weekend, his classmates Costa (Oliver Cooper), JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton) prepare a birthday bash at his big house guaranteed to make Thomas cool. Coming from Queens NY, Costa is full of chutzpa. JB is socially challenged. The gorgeous Kirby hopes Thomas will come to see her as more than part of the gang. Predictably, with an open invitation bringing in hundreds of guests, free-flowing alcohol and other drugs from a source who they shouldn’t have ripped off, things deteriorate, all skillfully captured by the camera of a mysterious kid named Dax (Dax Flame).

Running at just under an hour and a half, Project X maintains a documentary feel as it moves inexorably toward its inevitable conclusion. With a huge cast of extras accompanied by a good selection of party music, it holds one’s interest for what is after all an exercise in mass stupidity. Vulgar language and some partial nudity are consistent with the theme without getting too gross. Its appeal is obviously limited to the target audience of young adults, while the rest of us may grudgingly admire the effort.

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Consensus: Although Project X delivers for those wanting to see a wild teen party spiral insanely out of control and has some admittedly funny moments, a lot of audiences will be put off by the extreme content of this “found footage” teen movie.  ** (Out of 4)

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