Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Cast: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown
Release Date: March 2nd, 2012
Project X, the new comedy from the producer of The Hangover, is a difficult film to review. Its emphasis on crude humor and outrageous potty jokes can be offensive at times. And for anyone over 35, I would never recommend this film.
Its appeal – as it is – will likely interest college students and people in their twenties looking for a fun, carefree time at the theater. And as someone within that small demographic, I enjoyed Project X for what it is: a politically-incorrect, outrageous movie about a group of high school geeks attempting to host a massive house party.
“He’s not exactly Mr. Popular,” one of the geek’s fathers states early in the film about his son. That, in a way, sums up the character’s motivations. This is a story about three male friends hosting a birthday party so that they can finally become popular.
The party is for Thomas ( Thomas Mann) but unfortunately for the birthday boy, it’s going to be hosted at Thomas’ own home. (Of course, a better birthday present from one of the friends would have been them hosting it elsewhere.) Thomas’ friends are the obnoxious Costa (Oliver Cooper) and the dorky JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown). Costa, it should be noted, is the type of friend who you enjoy spending five minutes a day with. Beyond that, he’s the guy you would cross the street to avoid.
Costa is Ferris Bueller if you take away the charm, smarts and charisma. And if you made him a complete jerk.
The first half of the film leads up to the party itself as the three teens plan out the event. The teens repel the check-out lady at the local grocery store and later get into a major altercation with a known drug dealer. These scenes recall the comedic sensibilities of The Hangover.
The party itself should – in such a story – be the film’s highlight. Instead, it is the film’s downfall. The Hangover, for all of its flaws, never became serious. Yes, it was about a group of guys drinking the night away and accidentally taking drugs that made them forget everything about the night before, but it never became a serious film about drug abuse. When the teens in Project X take drugs, the scenes aren’t played for comedic effect. They simply exist and instead of laughing with the characters, I found myself taking pity on them – a terrible feeling to have in what is supposed to be a carefree film about a party gone wild.
Luckily, the film roars back in its final third, with a few funny sequences that lighten the mood. The epilogue – detailing the character’s future endeavors – is worth a few chuckles itself.
There are times while watching this film I thought it wasn’t suitable for a recommendation. The party sequences are dull and redundant and the character of Costa is so annoying that I wanted Thomas to leave him in the dust. Or at least tie balloons to him and send him off into outer space.
But the film is worthwhile for the comedic moments at the beginning and end. This is a movie that college kids and men and women in their twenties can enjoy while reminiscing about their own party experiences. For everyone else, stay away from Project X. It‘s a party that you shouldn’t be offended by if no one invites you. In two months, no one will remember it anyway.
Review by: John Hanlon