Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Review: Project X

Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh
Written by: Matt Drake and Michael Bacall
Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown

Every cliché in the book is thrown at the screen in this wholly unnecessary marriage of the found footage and teen sex comedy genres. Project X has plenty of booze, drugs, gross-out scenes and exposed flesh to satisfy its target audience, but neglects to include much semblance of a plot.

The story, for what it’s worth, revolves around Thomas (Thomas Mann) and Costa (Oliver Cooper) and their attempts to throw a huge birthday party for Thomas at his parent's home while they are away for the weekend.

Costa enlists a cameraman to document the event, which swiftly gets out of hand. Thomas' house is huge, with a swimming pool round the back (which costa insists only naked girls are allowed in). It is the Hollywood ideal for a party and Costa helpfully broadcasts the event by text, internet, word-of-mouth and even radio to the point everyone in the area knows about it.

What follows will be familiar to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the teen genre. The hottest girl at school has an inexplicable attraction to Thomas, all the cool kids show up and show a blatant disregard for other people's property, bodily functions are performed and awkward flirtation occurs. There's even an animal on hand to endure borderline abuse, but it's up to you to decide the comic value of a dog on drugs.

About half of the film’s mercifully short running time is taken up by shots of attractive people drinking, copulating and dancing - it would make a great hip-hop video but as a film it just makes you feel like you live a rather boring life.

Everything is far too splendiferous for us mere mortals to comprehend. Professional DJs are rolled out with an endless supply of alcoholic beverages and a bouncy castle to boot. With the exception of one crusading neighbour, everyone in the area is initially rather understanding of such a massive event. Even the police seem fairly lacklustre in their investigations.

The problem with Project X is a complete lack of merit outside its target demographic. Older viewers will be more concerned with the condition of the house and cost of insurance than the level of debauchery taking place before them. None of the characters seem particularly deserving of a good time and come across as a bunch of spoilt brats with no respect.

Costa, despite providing some of the film’s few good laughs, is loud and obnoxious and bears more than a passing resemblance to Jonah Hill’s Seth in Superbad. He is not the only overly familiar part of the film - despite Nourizadeh’s attempts to bring a fresh twist to this genre with the increasingly tired found footage format, this film riffs on everything from American Pie to Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Any attempt to make us empathise with the characters or give an emotional impact are clearly an afterthought, with the romantic sub-plot given about as much screen time as the generic shots of naked flesh and drinking. All the female characters in this film are completely undeveloped and merely act as plot devices to drive Thomas' development forward. This is the second decade of the 21st century and this kind of misogyny should really be phased out of the teen movie genre.

Despite having little-to-no artistic merit, Project X still has its fair share of awkward laughs, with one scene in particular making you feel particularly guilty for chuckling. The problem is, with the exception of a certain type of young male, Project X will most likely make you feel angry and disgruntled.

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