“Project X” is an amateurish film that exists merely to be exploitative of teenaged debauchery. Chronicling a high school keg party that escalates into a fully fledged riot, the movie makes no bones about gratuitously documenting the sex, drugs and loud music inherent in a teen party. It shows no shame in completely reveling in the lust, lewd behaviour, substance abuse, violence and vandalism that often occur when hormones, intoxicants, youth and lack of parental supervision mix.
It’s a movie that’s crude, crass and morally reprehensible.
This is going to have to be one of my patented “qualified reviews”. I’m certain that movie reviewers and or bloggers with a higher degree of objectivity, quality standards, taste or reputation will probably crap on this movie. In fact, I’m well aware that it sits at 24% right now on Rotten Tomatoes. It is amateurishly made (but in this case, the style fits it well), and 75% of the movie offers nothing above and beyond showing a raging house party.
But I have to confess a soft spot for said culture. I was a hardcore hedonist at that age myself. For a solid half of this movie, there was a genuine level of authenticity that I could appreciate… the drinking, the drugging, the puking, the fights, breaking things, hooking up, worrying about being caught by your parents, talking your way out of the inevitable visit by the cops… these are pretty realistic situations, I can attest. And for me, they made an enjoyable watch. Call it nostalgia if you will.
The plot is basic. Parents go away. Kids have party. Obnoxious, pushy friend talks host into escalating it into a bash. Things get out of hand.
The main character is a bit bland… most likely so you can sympathize when him when things spin out of control. His best friend and party instigator is really obnoxious. I actually found him super annoying at first, but as the movie grew on me, so did he. They have a third buddy that’s a bit of a fat spaz. They’re all filmed by a fourth, a psycho loner.
Once the host’s parents leave, the movie becomes an exercise in documenting the party from the outset. Emails are sent, word of mouth, text messages. In spite of the group’s unpopularity, a house party is irresistible, and the word spreads. When people eventually begin to come, they come in droves. And once the party actually starts and is cool, the word spreads again. Eventually the house and yard are jam-packed with people. Kids are drinking, hooking up and causing mayhem, neighbors are complaining, the cops come by… your standard high school party playbook.
Eventually though, the movie shifts into a fifth gear. For the majority of the movie, it’s borderline cinéma vérité. The house party escalates in an exaggerated manner, sure, and obviously things are a little blown out of proportion. But there was a lot of truth involved… it was comical, but believable for the most part. When it hits fifth gear though and the fires start and the SWAT teams come and the helicopters circle, well, it didn’t pay off for me as much as it should have. But by that time it had built up a lot of good will. I had found myself laughing – frequently – as had the audience. So I was willing to cut it some slack.
So… I may be biased, but I had fun. I enjoyed watching it, I laughed, it was fun. But as far as a recommendation, I’ll make it simple for you. If you want to see a found footage documentary style comedy about a raging high school party that glamorizes bacchanalia, then check this out at some point, you’ll probably enjoy it. If such a thing holds no appeal for you, then stay away, there is absolutely nothing here to offer otherwise.
As it is, I’m a fan