Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writers: Michael Bacall, Matt Drake
Cast: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Dax Flame, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Brady Hender, Nick Nervies, Miles Teller, Alexis Knapp, Peter Mackenzie, Caitlin Dulany, Rob Evors, Rick Shapiro, Martin Klebba, Pete Gardner
Synopsis: Three seemingly anonymous high school seniors attempt to finally make a name for themselves. Their idea is innocent enough - let's throw a party that no one will forget, and have a camera there, to document history in the making. But nothing could prepare them for this party. Word spreads quickly as dreams are ruined, records are blemished and legends are born.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem - all involving teens
Witness It (Warning: This Review Will Contain Spoilers)
It's allegedly going to be the most kick-a** high school party of the year, and everyone is invited; even the viewers themselves. As most film buffs know, the whole "found footage" gimmick has been very popular among horror films lately (notably the "Paranormal Activity" franchise). However, it's never really been applied to other genres. Sure, there was "Chronicle" that came out earlier this year that fell more into the "superhero genre" of movies; which I can't comment on, as I've never seen that one. However, that's only one movie that tried to use the "found footage" gimmick for a genre of movie that wasn't "horror" related.
Although some can argue that "Virginity Hit" was the first film to use a "found footage" gimmick in a comedy movie, but it wasn't using so much of a "found footage" gimmick, as it was more of a documentary style comedy format....if that makes sense. No, "Project X" is the first comedy to truly try to implement the whole "found footage" gimmick to it's advantage.
The premise of the movie is that two high school nerds, Costa and JB, decide throw a kick-a** birthday party for their friend, Thomas, who isn't exactly "Mr. Popularity" himself. And to commemorate the occasion, they have one of their classmates named Dax, to film the whole thing. We know next to nothing about Dax, nor does the movie ever care to show us what he looks like, or anything important about him. Hell, the only thing we know about him is that he lives alone, and that he's the camera man throughout this whole event. Therefore, he acts more as an avatar for the viewer, so we can literally witness this high school party first hand.
Anyway, Thomas is not only a nerd, but apparently even his own damn parents think of him as a loser. Why do I say this? Well before the parents leave, the father is quoted as saying that he trusts his son, to be alone in the house for a few days; not because he knows he's a responsible young man. No, no, no, he trusts him because he knows that he's allegedly incapable of throwing any kind of party because of his popularity status.
Why is that parents in these types of teen movies are often portrayed as morons? Anyway, the three of them quickly get the word out about the party, and at first, they do it through traditional means like word of mouth. You know, the typical high school b.s., where they try to invite some of the more popular kids to their party. Some ranging from the cool jocks, to the party girls that have reputations of getting it on with college guys too. Needless to say, the party is such a success that even a playboy model comes. No, I'm not kidding here, as an actual playboy model attends this high school party. Gee, I guess she must have an attraction for high school boys, or....girls...whatever the case may be.....
Anyway, the party grows rapidly, as Thomas' two friends not only get the word out by posting ads about the party on "Craig's List", posting about it on "Facebook" and "Twitter", but they even pay to set up an ad on a radio station, to officially announce the damn party. Now if that doesn't tell you how committed these guys are to throwing a party, then I don't know what will.
Needless to say, the party is a giant success, as everyone seems to be having a good time. Sure, there's a few fights here and there, and Thomas has a bit of a lover's quarrel too in the mix involving his best friend turned girlfriend, Kirby. However, the main focus is showing these teenagers having the time of their lives getting wasted, rocking out to loud music, and skinny dipping; while trying to have sex with as many of their female classmates as humanly possible. Isn't that nice?
Sure, the neighbors complain about the noise, and they even called the cops on them. But f*** them! This is a party damn it, so let's party! By the way, who cares about the fact that the party results in not only trashing the house, but literally burning down the entire neighborhood. Hell, the party even makes it on the news too, as it literally bankrupts Thomas' parents. But do the boys of this movie ever learn anything about the consequences of their actions? No, they don't. Hell, Thomas' biggest concern, after the party, isn't about his poor parents that are now bankrupt because of him. No, his only concern is patching things up with poor Kirby. Aw isn't that sweet?
Do the boys go to juvenile hall for throwing a party that not only disturbs the peace, but results in the burning of the entire neighborhood? No, they don't. As it's explained at the ending, Thomas' friend, Costa, is able to hire a rich lawyer that allows them to get off virtually "Scott free", as the only result they end up with is that they end up becoming cool in the eyes of their peers.
In fact, Thomas' father doesn't even seem that angry that his house is burned down. No, he merely goes into some half winded lecture about how Thomas' college money is gone because of this, but he notes that he didn't think his son had it in him. Take in mind, he says this in sort of a subtle way to suggest that he's actually PROUD of his son for doing this. Personally, I've never had a child before, but I do know that if my possible future son ever did something like this, then lets just say that I certainly would NOT be proud of him for this crap. Trust me, I would feel a lot of things, but "being proud of him" for pulling off a party that ends with this kind of result would not be one of them.
To be fair, the movie isn't designed to tell any kind of interesting narrative story about a boy that learns that there's more to life than being popular. No, this is film that's designed to be more of an experience film about three teenage boys throwing a party; while using the "found footage" gimmick to make the audience feel like they're in it. On that note, it succeeds. Not only did the cinematography help immerse the viewer into the experience, but the overall direction itself really seems to capture the adolescence of what most teenagers go through during these events.
It's a rather interesting film to say the least, and it does exactly what it was intended to do; which was create a party experience that makes the viewer feel like they're in the action firsthand. Unfortunately, none of the main characters are remotely interesting to watch, and the story is nothing more than a set up for party sequences that happen throughout the film itself.
Overall, I don't think this film is going to be for everybody, as I can see this film appealing more to high school and college kids, as it definitely recreates that party experience. Whereas most parents, they'll probably look upon this film as something of a very bad influence on their children. As for me, I thought the film was fairly decent for what it was trying to go for, and it does achieve that. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that "Project X" is a great film, as it only means that it accomplishes what it was set out to do. In the end, I'd have to give this movie a two out of four. It's a good rental for any college and/or high school kid that wants to see an experience type party film, but it's not for everyone though.