The makers of the popular “The Hangover” films have produced a movie on yet another subject that gets the youth buzzing and the parents fussing: high school parties.
Nima Nourizadeh’s “Project X” is about three male students stuck in the stereotypical hell of teenage suburbia. Naturally, the boys long to escape their constant teasing and lack of popularity, and they plan on doing so by throwing the kick-ass party of the year for the lead loser Thomas (Thomas Mann), on his 17th birthday. What starts out as a simple plot to climb the high school food chain becomes more than they can handle, but nevertheless a social success. Though the idea behind the film is recklessly unoriginal and the characters are plain and predictable, the film’s energy is fresh and ultimately addicting for any teen.
Almost immediately, the stimulating beat of party music begins to play as Costa (Oliver Cooper) walks into his friend Thomas’s house on his birthday, along with Dax (Dax Flame), who quietly films their every move (the whole film is from the point of view from Dax’s camera, a la “Cloverfield”). Costa continuously bothers Thomas about the crazy party he’s planning to throw at Thomas’s house that night, since his parents will be away for the weekend, but Thomas insists that they make it small and exclusive. Throughout the day, Thomas gives in little by little, as word of the party spreads around the school. Thomas, Costa, and their third friend J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) desperately want to become more popular, but Thomas doubts that the party will be their solution.
Costa, J.B., Thomas, and Thomas’s crush Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton), an athletic blonde who is considered part of their gang, play video games when all of a sudden, cars begin to pull up to the house and people start flooding into his yard. To their delight, this includes the most popular people at school. Soon, the party is a hit, but Thomas starts to experience increasing problems, and the party gets wilder by the minute.
Everywhere he turns, Thomas is surprised by something bizarre and unreal, whether it be an angry midget in his oven, his dog attached to a dozen party balloons slowly floating away, or his father’s precious Mercedes being driven into his swimming pool. It is these recurring moments of frenzy and destruction that fuel the energy in the theater, but the film is barely more than waves of sweaty teenagers doing drugs and making out. The entire plot is written without creativity or surprise, offering little more than the typical story of the school losers throwing the ultimate “dream” party, which suddenly makes them popular.
Thomas, Costa, and J.B. undergo very little character development. Thomas is the shy guy whom no one cares about, Costa is his obnoxious best friend, and J.B. is the overweight character who’s only there to give the crowd a laugh. The actors are barely talented and often very boring. Though Thomas is the lead role, he never has much to say and lets his friends do the talking for him.
Perhaps the only moderately redeeming actor is Oliver Cooper as Costa. Cooper is spot-on when capturing Costa’s selfish, crude personality with his use of provocative slang and suggestive remarks. Though his part is just as bland because his jokes are nothing special, he is one of the few characters that successfully humors the audience throughout the movie.
Regardless of “Project X”’s lack of originality, it is certainly relatable and entertaining for high school students, due to the occasional witty line or funny scenario. In addition, its possibly most fascinating aspect is its cinéma vérité style; the photographers even handed out Blackberrys and iPhones to the extras, and incorporated hours of film from a “real” perspective. The movie’s genuine vibe and excitement of explosions, sexuality, and pumping hip-hop music should entertain almost any party-loving teenager.