Oliver Cooper, Dax Flame, Thomas Mann, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Jonathan Daniel Brown
Matt Drake, Michael Bacall
Producer Todd Phillips (The Hangover) and first-time director Nima Nourizadeh have created a simple concept for an unforgettable film. A likable nerd, Thomas (Thomas Mann), is left alone by his trusting parents for the weekend.
Seriously. What could go wrong? A teenager? Alone? In a huge house?
Did I mention alone?
Well, maybe not entirely alone. Thomas has his good buddies JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and Costa (Oliver Cooper) with him, but his parents likely could have never imagined the direction everything will go once they depart. Determined to throw the party of all parties in an effort to attain the high school popularity that has always eluded them, the geek trio lets loose with every warped out, insecure, popularity craving teenager's wet dream with a bash that makes the risky business in Risky Business seem downright tame.
They call it a "game changer." Indeed.
Project X is a relentless party film, an Animal House for the new millennium filled with copious amounts of sex, drugs, rock n' roll, more sex, more drugs, a bit o' violence and, perhaps most surprisingly, a rather good nature and spirit beneath it all. While some will consider Project X a cautionary tale and others will simply consider it a waste of time, the film will likely speak volumes to its targeted generation that has grown up on the internet with access to videos, sounds and images that most of us didn't think about, at least not as much, even 25 years ago.
There's an argument that Project X is irresponsible, but that argument is also likely put forth by those who would be the same ones trusting their teenager enough to leave them alone for the weekend with similar results. The film is inspired by the true story of an Australian teen whose house party in his parents' absence really did get so completely out of control that riot police were called.
I don't know about you, but I sure didn't party this much in high school. But, then again, I was the nerd on the speech team.
The film is incredibly well cast, with Oliver Cooper and Dax Flame, as a filmmaking friend who documents much of the festivities, leaving particularly strong impressions. While one would have a hard time exactly calling this "acting" and I sure don't see any Oscars in this film's future, Nourizadeh does a terrific job of creating a spirit and spontaneity that largely feels authentic even during the film's abundant sex and drug use scenes.
Project X is probably one of those films where you shouldn't simply trust my opinion. While I enjoyed the film, tremendously actually, if the description thus far sounds completely appalling then it's likely not the film for you. In fact, it's honestly rather hard to imagine too many folks beyond their 20s-30s actually enjoying the film. The film is also not particularly fresh, with several scenes bringing to mind several other films. The good news is that while Project X may not necessarily do it all better, it does take such a joyfully abandoned "balls to the walls" approach that even though it rips off several other films it does so in such a way that it gains its own voice in the process.
Project X might best be described as part teen sex comedy, part coming-of-age story, part Jackass and part extended MTV music video.
But man, it sure is a lot of fun. Sometimes, that's enough.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic