Project X (2012)

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Written by Matt Drake & Michael Bacall

Based on what I had seen in the trailer for this film, it really could have gone only one of two ways, and neither was necessarily very attractive to me. One was that it would be a wild, raucous time where three high school friends throw the party of their lives and any plot is left to the audience to fill in amongst the various acts of debauchery. The other option, and the one I was really hoping for, would be three high school friends throw the party of their lives and in the end they learn some type of hard lesson that either they are able to redeem themselves or they basically lose everything in their privileged North Pasadena lives. Even that is potentially a movie I don’t want to see, but it at least holds some promise above a basic premise with nothing going for it other than glorifying misbehavior and serious lack of judgment.

Thomas (Thomas Mann) is a high school junior who blends into the crowd with the best of them, but it is his birthday and his friends Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) decide they are going to throw a party for their friend while his parents are out of town for their anniversary. They strive to be relevant and popular among their high school culture, but the problem is getting enough people to come to their party. Enter Costa, who continually claims to have been a big wig when he was living in Queens. A self-promoter, Costa manages to spread the work and amass everything from the popular kids to booze and drugs. The party is a massive hit, and despite the attempt of one neighbor to stop the out of control party by calling the cops, the kids thwart him, raising the stakes of the party to the point of a riot, attracting news helicopters.

The sad reality of this film is that it will have its audience, and that audience will eat it up and probably try to mimic it to some degree. It is films like this which amaze me in how they were able to be made, and at the visibility level as something like this. In recent years films like The Hangover have come in vogue and adults have loved the hopeless situations that lack of responsibility have caused for these films main characters, but there has always been some kind of resolution that, while not necessarily believable, at least foot some sort of accountability for the mess that preceded it. This film goes where I hope no other film after it goes. It glorifies these acts to the point of encouragement as they follow with nearly no repercussions.

I would be lying if I said the film is not massively entertaining. Everything that happens is completely over the top and ridiculous in the best way possible. The three main characters set out to throw one of the most epic parties ever, and they exceed expectations in that regard. There are so many occurrences which might make you smile or laugh hysterically, but to say this film is not for everyone is an understatement. The problem with the film is that it shows these high schoolers, kids, partaking in excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, and promiscuous sex, and it does so in a manner to glorify it to the point of making it uncool to be doing other things in high school. These characters are portrayed as losers at the beginning of the film and are made out to be heroes at the end. It is sending the wrong message.

As such, it is one of the worst films I have seen in some time. This type of encouragement is atrocious, but at the same time it is hard not to admit that it is entertaining. The biggest problem with the film really is the way it wraps everything up though. There is hardly anything negative which comes about which is more unrealistic than the party these guys manage to throw. There were times where I thought it would resemble Superbad, a film I really enjoy, but at the end of the day the morals just aren’t there for these characters. They really do turn out to be delinquents who basically get away with it because they are privileged, and what a shame that is. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t know that people who saw this stuff would go home from the theater and try it themselves, if it didn’t communicate to the audience that this stuff, while maybe not the most advisable, would also not come with any real punishment.

* – WOOF!

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

One comment

  • I've never been so offended by a film as I was Project X. It was horrifying, and what made it worse was so many members of the audience seemed to love it. Someone even commented saying that they wish they could go to a party like that. Like you said, the ending completely gives the wrong message: Thomas' dad seems weirdly proud. It just made me so angry! Nice to see a review that agrees with my opinion!

    Like

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