Every high school student dreams of procuring an epic house party to make a lasting impression and become the talk of the halls. Rarely do these dreams ever come true, but in Project X, the party turns from the talk of school to the talk of the town, just as the party spills over onto the streets of a Pasadena suburb. This farce acts as biting comment on the common teenage party film premise where parents leave for the weekend.
Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper), J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown), and the camera operator Dax (Dax Flame) plan to have controlled party in Thomas’ backyard now that his parents are away for the weekend. After obtaining some marijuana, a gnome with an obscene gesture, and an entry-level security crew, the three believe they have the necessary resources to pull off the party of their lifetime. As attendees begin to arrive, they seem to keep arriving in droves, and the stakes rise contiguously throughout the night just as the destruction never seems to end.
Like in the previous review of Chronicle, there is an excessive trend of user-perspective hand-held camera work. It is a trend that seems to have no end in sight, specifically since one of the trailers before the film was Silent House, which appears to add a real-time premise. Project X channels many of the over-used elements from house party films. Where some see an epic party gone wrong, but still epic, the film is really a farce that takes the stakes higher and higher as the film progresses.
An experienced cinema-goer will find the laughs spread out and unpredictable, but the impressionable will fail to see the commentary the filmmakers are establishing, and copy cat parties will certainly be attempted. Not all critics seem to agree, most of which label the film as hedonistic, misogynistic, etc. Taking this film seriously was never the intent, especially since the mass destruction and debauchery continuously becomes more egregious as the film progresses to the point that there is no central narrative. This is exact definition of a farce. The film’s narrative is sparked by an incredibly unoriginal premise, which is additional evidence that the film is a fantastic joke on the audience, both those who are offended and those who are impressed.
The character of Costa exhibits a cross between Aziz Ansari and Jason Mewes. He is crude, but his intentions are for Thomas to have the best birthday imaginable. But he is consistently the catalyst that spurs the situation into a constant, uncontrollable spin. It all starts with a mass text message from Costa, and with the power of mobile technology, the word spreads far too quickly to be controlled. Even the upcoming actor Miles Teller joins. It is a prime example of the flash-mob mentality that has fueled both harmless pranks, violent riots, and even the world-wide Occupy protest movement.
Despite the hand-held camera work, the film is strictly composed, which is why it is not a stretch or even an audacious position to call the film a farce. Project X is just another step in the inevitable trend of the faux-DIY, first-person perspective films, most of which portray the Millennial youth experience in contemporary America. Like most, trends, only a few films tend to have cultural value, and Project X is lacking the substance and humor to give it replay value.