‘Project X’: Instruments of Destruction (Movie Review)

I had many mixed feelings going into Project X this past Tuesday evening.  Sure, I thought.  It looks like a wild and raunchy, good ole time, but where will the story ultimately go?  Being not a person to partake in such wild festivities myself in real life, I knew I would only be able to take so much before my senses eventually dull and I start to feel like I’m watching the first twenty minutes of Bellflower at 2 AM after working a 12-hour manual labor day.  But there’s a name attached to this “project’ that I guess you could say, kind of gave me a sense of proverbial hope.  That name belongs to none other than The Hangover director, Todd Phillips.  The fact that his name is attached to this “project” gave me a glimmer of shiny hope that maybe; just maybe…this might work out after all.  With his source credit, I figured the least I could do is give it an unbiased, fair try.  That’s what being a reviewer is all about, right?

The coming of age comedy film we are gathered here to talk about today is directed Nima Nourizadeh.  Interestingly enough, it’s his debut feature film, only having previously directed music videos and commercials.  How’s that for a grand opening?  Wow!  The feature stars Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Nichole Bloom and Alexis Knapp.  The premise of the film is actually quite simple (as is blaringly obvious in all the TV previews as of late)…a house party gone wrong.  But the way in which it’s captured is really the essence of the story here.  Hence, enter the found footage genre you recently saw in Chronicle.  It’s filmed through the first-person view of the cameraman observing the party in order to create the effect of the audience actually attending the out of control experience.  Does it work for this?  Let’s find out.

The plot revolves around three friends (Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown) who plan to throw the ultimate party while the birthday boy’s parents, who own the beautifully chosen estate, just so happen to be out of town for the weekend and from what I gather, are leaving the 17-year old home for the very first time over an extended time.  The father has nothing to fear.  He thinks his son is a loser.  Ha.  But wait!  There’s truth to that.  However, let’s be honest with ourselves.  Who doesn’t want to make a name for themselves when in high school?  Come on.  Get real!  Needless to say, as the guests keep arriving and arriving, things start to get a little out of hand.  The use of “a little” is an absurd understatement.  Pandemonium and absolute total chaos ensues.  Now that’s more like it!  And that house!  It’s absolutely huge!!!

The casting for this pelicula is very interesting.  In order to keep the costs down, an nationwide casting call was opened on the Internet allowing any U.S. resident over the age of 18 to audition for Project X through the official website.  It was noted that Phillips wanted unknown actors, aka real people of all ethnicities, to be given a chance at also making their feature film debut, much like Nourizadeh, huh?  Well one thing’s for sure, that’s definitely a way to keep production costs down.  You completely eliminate the agents and all the middlemen.  Bravo.  Simply brilliant…if it pays off!

So yeah…there was a one-liner I read the other day that said Project X is what happens when you marry Superbad with The Hangover.  In terms of raunchiness, over-the-top antics and sassy toilet humor, I couldn’t agree more.  But in terms of story and quality over nudity, give me a break.  Don’t get me wrong.  I had a fun time with Project X.  I really did.  I couldn’t think of a better way to watch a music video for Metallica’s “Battery.”  God, I miss that song (downloading it now).  My guest and I certainly laughed our @$$es off in many scenes (sometimes just the dirty rap lyrics were enough to elicit a smirk on my face), but it was just as I expected, Project X is a very weak in the story department (severe Act 3 problems) and delivered a very, very lackluster climax, in my opinion.  I’m not going to delve into any details or spoil anything, but if I ever did anything like these main characters did in my childhood, sure as sh1t, I would never have seen the light of day.  My parents would have killed me, and that’s no joke.  Relax Brian.  It’s only a movie.  I keep telling myself that.

So would I recommend it?  Yes, I would.  Not for us old folks, but for the kids.  I’m just kidding.  Thirty-seven years old is the new twenty-five in my book.  So let me make this perfectly clear.  If you didn’t care for the likes of Superbad, then you would be better off saving your money because otherwise you are just going to be sitting there proverbially watching paint dry.  However, if you love nothing more than over-the-top Apatow-like rude/crude humor (including the use of midgets or small people as they like to be called), naked breasts and destruction of property (ala Jack-ass style), then you fit this film’s demographics P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y.  If I can be completely honest, the first person perspective of a cameraman walking around doesn’t really add anything here.  They make a couple jokes about Dax, the cameraman, but they break the rules so often (with different shots not feasible by this solo cameraman, a rogue iPhone or even the news chopper circling above), that this found footage billing is nothing more than a gimmick, much like many 3-D films are.  As my fellow reviewer Bob Ignizio said to me before the screening, and I loosely quote. “It’s about time someone used this found footage genre for something other than horror stories.”  And in my opinion, that statement also applies to the recently released superhero feature Chronicle, which is far superior to most films I have seen so far this year.  I’m just saying.




10 Responses to “‘Project X’: Instruments of Destruction (Movie Review)”

  1. Bob Ignizio

    First off, thanks for the mention. Beyond that, I hated this movie. 2 1/2 dogs/stars is way too generous in my opinion. I loved ‘Superbad’, and as dumb as they are, the ‘Jackass’ movies make me laugh. This flick, however, didn’t elicit more than one or two chuckles. But what do I know, I’m old (41). The kids sitting behind us seemed to like it. It does at least deliver on the naked boobs and vulgarity, which if you’re an adolescent or teenage boy (the film’s target audience) is probably all that matters.

  2. Gregg

    This film looked like amateur hour. I’ll pass.

  3. Matt Goodman

    For my age group – this looks like a whole lot of fun.

  4. Aaron Neuwirth

    Too bad they’re not old enough 😉

  5. Gerard Iribe

    Wow, what a great time at the movies! It was so much fun, the audience I was with had a blast! As far as the third act goes, I don’t quite get that part, because the film isn’t even that long to technically have a third act. It segued nicely.

    As far as “story” and “plot” and all that useless dribble, I wouldn’t put that much thought into a film like this. Ask yourselves where the story and plot was in garbage films like the Transformers Trilogy or Underworld: Awakening before comparing a raunchy party movie to a higher standard. It makes no sense to do so.

    I will say that the film needed a tad bit more trance sound. The hip-hop seemed to have dominated a bit more, but whatever.

  6. Brian White

    You know every time you mention Underworld or Transformers I am going to remind you of your love for Conan. So Gregg loves TF and I love Undy…over.
    I’m busting your hairy b@11$ BTW.
    Anyway…SPOILER ALERT…my ONLY beef with this movie deals with the Father. WTF! You telling me a father is going to react like that when his whole house is destroyed. I realize shock comes into play, BUT come on. And I realize it was set up that the father thinks his son is a loser and maybe it’s a proud moment for him, BUT AGAIN…COME ON!
    I appreciated the film for what it was. A FUN THRILLED ESCAPE from my cold harsh reality that my life has become. I sat next to Bob Ignizio at this screening. I could tell he did not like it. Is it a great movie, absolutely not. Am I too old for this? Probably. But I was able to let go and just enjoy the mayhem and that’s really what you have to do with this coming of age comedy. IMO
    BTW…the flame thrower guy was hilarious. All he wanted was his gnome. This will be a buy on Blu-ray. At a good price of course. Maybe G is right…alcohol may make this a smudge better. What say you, Bob?

  7. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, Conan was entertaining, but I made my point. FOAD. hahahaha


    I guess you didn’t pick up on the fact that the family was rich, right? Exactly.

  8. Brian White

    COME ON…no one is going to react the way that Dad did. That was purely ridiculous and ruined what could have been a very awesome ending to a wild ride. Give me a little more. A couple more minutes with the parents. SOmething.
    Yeah Conan was entertaining…if you are a toddler ogling at the screen having no idea what is going on. Then I can see how one can enjoy Conan 🙂 Fake Rachel Nichols and all.

  9. Aaron Neuwirth

    The dad thing supports why I found the film so unoriginal, every turn that happened in this film I saw coming in some form (the flamethrower less so, though the trailer ruined that). Given that there already wasn’t much in the way of comedy I was laughing at, it didn’t really help in the overall enjoyment of the movie.

  10. PROJECT xXx

    This movie was great! Perfect party movie; hot girls, loud music, and many suprizes. This movie will make you want to have a huge party after you’ve seen it. Great job!

    THOMAS YOU SHOULD OF BANGED THAT GIRL (Alexis) she was fine as hell bro, bangin ass and she wanted his D*ck. But of course he f*cks up and goes after his true love..