Film Review: Project X
● By Justin Buettner
Billed as the ultimate party, Project X follows four outcast high school teenagers who embarked on a quest to throw a party so large that it is a “game changer.” Thomas has a birthday and his parents head out of a town for the weekend. His two best friends Costa and JB arrange a party but take it as far as they can to be sure that people come. It isn’t long before the party gets out of control on an epic scale.
Project X does exactly what it sets out to do, it’s a depiction of the craziest party ever put to film. The movie is interested in little else as it moves quickly from scene to scene until the end of the night -- at which time, the party has gone crazy and the neighborhood is literally being set on fire. Recent comedies have marketed and billed themselves less on laughs and more on raising the bar in terms of gross out spectacle and showing an audience an extreme they have not seen before. Project X has achieved this in the party movie genre.
The core story of this movie is really no different than most other party movie: the main characters throw a party to be popular and in hopes of winning the affections of a girl. That pretty much sums up Project X as well. This film utilizes the first person style of filmmaking that started with Blair Witch and has continued on in success with Paranormal Activity and recent box office success Chronicle. I don’t think the first person technique added anything to the movie, but it didn’t distract either. To be honest the movie really didn’t seem to adhere to the concept all the way through, but it didn’t really matter much.
The movie acts two ways depending on the audience. To teens, the movie is cool and funny. The movie certainly plays on teenage desires to be the “cool” kids on campus and that is something that even adults can identify with. However for a parent (like me) the movie acts more as a horror movie as the dread of having a teenager in modern high school becomes more of a reality. The kids' baseline behavior is deplorable. The way they dress and act is not for the faint of heart. Most of the girls “shorts” look more like underwear at best and the sexual promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse on display is criminal by any standard, but these are supposed to be high school students. If the film were actually made starring high school age actors I have the feeling that I would be watching something illegal. The sad truth is that I have attended high school parties in the last year as a photographer, and I hate to say that this movie is not far from the truth. It’s frightening for us parents.
However this movie was not made for parents, it was made for teenagers and although the rating prohibits its main target audience from getting in by themselves, I highly doubt many teenagers are having trouble seeing this movie. The three main characters are likable enough for the movie to work and it’s certainly entertaining and wastes little time getting into the action. Project X definitely steps closer to a thin line between entertainment and decency. Movies continue to push the envelope to shock and cause people to talk, but when does that line get crossed? Movies like the Human Centipede and a Serbian Story have already been banned and seem quite proud of their achievements, but it seems to me that movies are close to running out of tricks to shock and they will once again have to start relying on story and character to attract an audience, and I look forward to that day in comedy films.
Films like Project X: Superbad, American Pie and Porkey’s
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.