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Project X - Film Review

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by Sean (subscribe)
I'm a spottily employed journalist with a love of books and "genre" movies living in Brisbane. I have no blog as it's much too self-aggrandising.
Project X.

Ever since the successes of The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, the 'found footage' genre has been seeing a steady stream of new releases.

2012 has seen the release of The Devil Inside and the bordering on superb, Chronicle and it's only March.

Presumably the use of handheld cameras and mobile phone footage cuts down on costs as well as provides that sense of documentary immediacy and realism.

The film centres on high school seniors Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), who are the invisible background extras in any high school movie. They are so unrecognised they aren't excluded from parties, they are just overlooked. The guy in a wheelchair gets more play than these losers do. Even Thomas's dad thinks of him as a virtually friendless loser.

The film chronicles one day in the life of these three friends and their creepy hired gun cameraman Dax (Dax Flame). It's Thomas's 17th birthday and spurred on by the motor-mouthed Costa, he has decided to hold a party in his parents' house while they are away for the weekend.

This is their big chance to finally be noticed as people and maybe get noticed by some girls too.

Costa is inviting anyone who will listen to the party, especially if that anyone will look good in a tight dress and stiletto heels. He's the driving force behind the party, organising everything including: jumping castle, alcohol, drugs and two DJs. He also uses all available pieces of technology to get the word out about the party including mobile phone, Facebook, Craig's List and "possibly a local radio station".

The bulk of the film shows the party and how it gets more and more out of hand as dozens then hundreds then possibly thousands of people show up to take part in possibly the most epic house party filmed for the silver screen.

This party is crazy, there's a topless playboy model in the pool, the booze is flowing, the DJs are doing their thing and all of a sudden Thomas, Costa and JB are the coolest people in their little high school world. They are also finally being noticed by the ladies.

JB, Costa and Thomas with their new found friends.

But it can't stay this good forever. Can it? Nope.

It starts to go wrong about an hour in as more and more people show up. The drink and drug fuelled antics just crank higher and higher until you can see in the end, they're not getting away with it. At about half way I was thinking "They can repair everything the next day and get the place cleaned up if nothing else happens," but five minutes later something else has gone down and you know it's all going to blow up sooner rather than later. When it does, it'll be in everybody's best interest to be as far away as possible.

There's a secondary romantic sub-plot involving Thomas and his childhood female friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton) because, hey, it's a teen-centric movie and the hero has to get with the once dorky girl who got hot when she hit high school. I'm sure it's a trope.

You'll never lack for attractive women wearing figure hugging clothing in Project X.

The laughs are laid on thick and fast in this comedy helmed by feature film debutante Nima Nourizadeh. The script is funny as hell in dialling up the mayhem to 11. Being unknowns, the actors aren't the most experienced and Nourizadeh makes the best of what could have been an infinitely worse situation and pulls not just entertaining but downright funny performances out of the lead actors.

Oliver Cooper is the standout in this film as transplanted Queens native Costa. He gets the best lines as the foul mouthed instigator who can talk himself up to the stratosphere but may not be able to back up his words with action. Especially when the proverbial starts hitting the fan.

Also, watch out for the two youngest and hardest security guards to ever wear the uniform since Eric Cartman told you to "respect mah authoritah". They're not in it that much but they steal the scenes they're in.

Project X has taken a battering from many reviewers. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 29% as of March 4th.

But you know what? I didn't see that kind of disdain from the audience when I went to see it this evening. I heard and saw lots of laughter. It's the kind of laughter when everyone is thinking, "No he couldn't possibly do that. Wait, could he? Oh my god I can't believe he just did that." The levels of carnage are insane and it's fascinating to sit there and try to work out what could possibly go wrong next.

I also got a kick out of some of the cinematography which, on the few occasions when the cameras weren't trained on a female body part, actually produced some visually stunning images. Look for the bouncing dog or the exploding gnome as examples. The cameras may have been hand-held but the editing has been handled quite well.

Thomas's dog in the jumping castle.

Sure, the film doesn't really have a plot, the actors are untested and the content is pretty damn crude but I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway.

It's certainly designed for and marketed to the 18-25 male demographic with the copious female nudity, violence, swearing, drinking and drugs but it also ticks all the right boxes of comedy and the leads are relatable characters that almost anyone can identify with.

It certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea. But if you liked Porky's or The Hangover movies you should get a kick out of this.

Theatrical Trailer
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Why? Lewd, crude and hilarious.
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