Have you seen the trailer for PROJECT X? I don’t mean the crappy green band trailers or the TV spots but the full on red band trailer? I remember seeing it and laughing quite a bit and being relatively excited to see it. Flash forward, the movie has been watched, I saw a lot of the same things that were in that red band trailer and imagine my disappointment that absolutely none of the beats in the trailer made me laugh in context of the movie. Not only that but I kept track and only two moments made me chuckle lightly and they were so slight that I don’t even remember what specific moments they were. Essentially PROJECT X is like if the kids from SUPERBAD (except ten times more annoying and unlikable) had a party ten time crazier than the guys from THE HANGOVER went through, remembered it all (somehow) and magically found a way to do it with 1% of the comedy that either of those films had.
What we have here is a really annoying high school senior, Costa, deciding to throw a massive party for his friend Thomas’ birthday. Their other friend JB is along for the ride, but where Thomas just wants a chill party with a limited amount of guests, Costa is planning something far more epic. Epic to an eye rolling degree to be specific and all with the sole intention that it will boost their popularity and to hook up with the kind of girls they never would have had a shot with before. With Thomas’ parents out for the weekend everything seemingly falls into place until things rapidly spirals out of control and the epic party becomes too much for any of them to explain or keep under wraps. Oh and it’s all being filmed by an AV student that Costa constantly insults from beginning to end.
Starting with the found footage angle- it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous not just because the more Costa insults the kid behind the camera it becomes harder to believe the kid would put up with it, but also because at some point the camera cuts to locations where the kid can’t possibly be. The problem is that the transitions are quite jarring as some happen very fast and the film doesn’t exactly spell out the rules of the cameras- what I mean is something similar to CHRONICLE, in where whenever another camera is pleasant we are then seeing that feed before going back to the main camera. The camera though is the least of my problems, except for the fact that it is capturing some of the most obnoxious people I’ve seen in a while.
I wouldn’t say that my problem is that any of these kids are bad actors- quite the opposite- they are actually quite good at acting like a complete doucebags, clueless dweebs and hopelessly awkward. To be honest I don’t really need such a candid reminder of how horrible and annoying high school teenagers are, especially when they are drunk- I lived it and I see it all over when I’m out and about on a daily basis. Costa embodies every ounce of what I can’t stand about arrogant teenagers only magnified to an excruciating degree that just got worse and worse until the very end of the film. The character of Thomas is supposed to be the most relatable of the three as he has the most to gain or lose at this party and he’s constantly doing or saying the dumbest things. One second he’s horrified about the prospect of his parent’s reaction to the destruction that just occurred to their house and property the next he could care less- this repeats several times in different contexts for the character and every single time it makes no sense. I get that this is supposed to be nothing more than brainless fun and depraved hijinx that’s not supposed to be realistic, but give me a break. If you don’t like the people you are forced to hang out with on screen how are you ever going to enjoy watch them have fun- unless of course you invent some kind of drinking game and are completely wasted while watching it. If there’s anything I know it’s that alcohol helps to make most people overlook what you don’t like about people- although there are cases where it just enhances that hatred as well.
Since I can’t exactly remember any of the funny parts- which weren’t enough to redeem the film in any way- I do remember the one sequence I did thoroughly enjoy, even if I wouldn’t call it hilarious. I’m hesitant to even describe it as it is in the last ten minutes of the film or so, but suffice to say as it is the apex of the party that brings it all to a “fiery” conclusion. The sequence has a different tone to the rest if the film- aside from the over-the-top nature of what’s happening- because it feels a bit more like a thriller at that point given the sense of danger. The scene is shot in a far more interesting way to the rest of the film- I just wish that there could have been much more of it.
Would anyone follow along with me if I said for a majority of PROJECT X the kids reminded me of the general attitude of the guy from the “My New Haircut” video that people were constantly rushing me to watch? The only thing is that these kids are less Jersey Shore-ish, but three times more annoying and nowhere near as funny. I also cannot fathom that the same writer for 21 JUMP STREET came up with the script for this- a film that for as far as I’m concerned barely needed a script to begin with. In any event, PROJECT X is a party that no one should feel guilty about bailing on or skipping altogether. Having seen the film I now wish I would have risked missing out on the most “epic” party of all time than now having to deal with the massive hangover it’s caused.