One word of caution: unless you wish to experience symptoms such as headaches, accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, and/or general dizziness, avoid the consumption of alcohol within the twenty-four hours before seeing Project X. Why? Because this sensory-overload of epic craziness is sure to exhaust what brain cells you (as a college student) still have left, inducing the feeling of a pretty gnarly hangover. Trust me.
Unnoticed high school seniors Thomas, Costa, and JB (Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, and Jonathan Brown, respectively) have been planning something simple enough: to throw a birthday party for Thomas that’s big enough to get them in with the popular crowd… and maybe even get laid – a last hurrah before they graduate. Thomas‘ parents are trusting enough of him to leave the house in his hands and in the hands of trash-talking schemer, Costa, who’s also decided that the entire day should be captured on video by their very own high school camera man. After inviting all the cool kids at school, it’s time to score some marijuana and an ill-fated lawn gnome from a drug dealer, hire a couple blood-thirsty preteen kids as security, and set up the back yard for a pool party with a live DJ setup. Sounds simple enough. But as we all know, parties can be rather unpredictable in nature – this is especially true when open invites go out on CraigsList and popular college athletes like Miles (Miles Teller) show up on a party bus filled with groupies. Throw in a never-ending supply of alcohol, neighborhood-thumping club music, a surprise delivery of MDMA, hormones in hyperdrive… and you get that much closer to Thomas’ birthday party.
As the party escalates to an epic scale, it begins to sink in that there’s no stopping it – the house is literally being torn apart. And dear old mom and dad will inevitably find out. Coming to this realization will test the nerves and friendships of these three legends as Project X becomes what it was always meant to be – one for the record books. After all, it’s pretty hard to ever forget a party where the only uninvited guests are police in riot gear… who show up anyway.
This movie is presented in a ‘found-footage’ format, much like The Blair Witch Project (1999), Cloverfield (2008), and Chronicle (2012). Just as this places us right in the middle of the action, it also has the ability to slightly overload our senses. Once the party is underway, the majority of the footage consists of the absolute craziness ensuing all around the house – the party scenes are uncompromising, loud and colorful. And it’s hard to soak it all in. Bare-chested girls, trash-talking thug wannabes, alcohol and drug consumption, and sexual exploits are intercut now and then to check in with Thomas, Costa and JB; progressing the story only slightly through the single day which takes place by using the least amount of pertinent dialogue possible.
Project X is simply the most epic party movie ever made. Perhaps this was somewhat expected, having been produced by Todd Phillips, who directed The Hangover (2009). Bros around the world unite! That being said, the nearly total lack of character/story development and/or intelligence is (dare I say?) excusable. Todd Phillips and breakout director Nima Nourizadeh accomplished the perfect execution of what might be described as a twisted ‘coming-of-age’ tale suited only for the modern youth – it’s about having fun by whatever means necessary! The entirety of the movie is without a sense of class, logic or morality… and that’s just fine for the demographic for which it was created.
Imagine that MTV threw a massive house party where everyone was invited and there were no rules to be spoken of – no such thing as ‘off-limits’. While producing a movie like this looks fun, the logistics of working with so many people in a seemingly hectic environment can be quite nightmarish. I’d almost be surprised if everyone involved made it out without any incident of injury. I, however, walked away feeling as though I had barely lived through the most exhausting house party ever. Injured? – No. Traumatized? – Maybe. Now, I need to go sleep off this headache.