A high school slacker who's rejected by every school he applies to opts to create his own institution of higher learning, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, on a rundown piece of property near his hometown.
Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding.
It's Thomas Kub's 17th birthday and all he wants to do is throw a small party with some friends to help raise his social status and maybe even get lucky. But when his best friend Costa starts calling radio stations and putting ads up on Craigslist, you can be sure that this party is going to get really out of hand really fast.
Near the beginning of the movie, while in the van, the driver hits the brakes to have the kid in the passenger seat hit his head. The thing is that he would have been forced forward into the dashboard not backwards into the headrest of the seat. See more »
What up my lovely females? This is your boy Costa, your host for the evening. Behind me is Thomas Kub's house. Today is Thomas Kub's birthday,
and this is Project X, yo.
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Basically Superbad meets The Hangover, but with less interesting characters and a more exploitative, gratuitous, mean spirit.
As a preface to this review, before anyone's knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss my opinions as those of a prude: I'm not at all opposed to "hard-R" comedies. In fact, I love many of them. But something about this one rubbed me the wrong way - indeed, to even refer to it as a "movie" seems wrong: there were scenes chronicling the party that basically devolved into mini-music-videos focusing on naked girls. And not even in tantalizing ways -- rather, these scenes felt creepy (especially since a lot of the girls featured are supposed to be high schoolers) -- for example, the director relies upon paparazzi-style upskirt shots. And because the movie is shot a la Blair Witch/Cloverfield etc. with its "found footage" style, it only makes these shots seem all the dirtier and more voyeuristic.
Moving on past that stuff... other flaws: The fact that the main characters were so clichéd and stereotypical of the genre didn't help, either -- the Jonah Hill-type character from NYC was sporadically amusing but overall just seemed to be trying too hard: the mandatory overzealous good friend who's obsessed with girls and thinks he has game but doesn't. So, nothing original or distinct enough to make him different than any other sex comedy character. He made me laugh a couple times, but that's faint praise.
While the first half of the movie is sort of dumb fun, the second just gets derailed by increasingly silly, unrealistic, borderline disturbing stuff - e.g. a huge sequence with a dude wielding a flamethrower at the end was not just stupid but kind of terrifying, like it belonged in a completely different film.
I also didn't like the 'moral' of the story or whatever you want to call its attempts to reconcile its events. Unfortunately I can't discuss it without spoiling the film, but suffice to say the "feel-good" moral closure of Project X felt like an attempt at Risky Business without any of the actual morality behind it. Not to mention the main character wasn't half as likable or realistic as the Tom Cruise character, despite ostensibly looking more like an actual high schooler than Cruise did - alas, that's why good writing is key. The only word I can use to describe the film is...sleazy, but not in a good way.
Think back on what made films like Superbad so much better than much of their genre: it was the characters. They said and did a lot of crude, dumb stuff, but they were rendered as realistic and likable kids and we could relate to them. When they were put in compromising situations - like an out of control party - it was funny because, as corny as this sounds, we cared. They weren't throwaway caricatures of teenagers, or one-dimensional mean-spirited idiots.
In Project X, whose various elements and characters are basically ripped off of superior teen films, you don't particularly care about any of these kids - nor can you relate to them. Is the film enjoyable? People in the theater laughed - I imagine it'll appeal to its primary demographic, which is the teen/college crowd - but I think years from now those viewers will look back on movies like The Hangover and Superbad and realize why those were better.
(P.S. Don't be fooled by misleading marketing -- while this film was indeed produced by Todd Phillips, he did not direct it. The studio is capitalizing on his involvement - and can you blame them for it when the Hangover films have made like a billion dollars worldwide? - but apart from a producer credit, he didn't have anything to do with this flick.)
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