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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Project X



Project X marks the spot. A "found footage" film loosely based on a real party a teenager threw in Australia, Project X is produced by Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover. At its most raucously raunchy best, Project X is like the closing credits of The Hangover come to life. Three "loser" (and this is coming from one of their dads) high school seniors in Pasadena set out to "change the game" and make a name for themselves by throwing the most epic party ever. God bless 'em, they succeed, with catastrophic results. Thomas Mann, the well-meaning birthday boy, is flanked by his incredibly obnoxious but dedicated and loyal best friend Oliver Cooper, their heavyset hornball sidekick Jonathan Daniel Brown, and strange but unflappable camera man Dax Flame. Through aggressive new media marketing and a lot of chutzpah (because, as he repeatedly points out, he's from Queens and they know how to party in Queens), Cooper somehow gets a couple of thousand raging party goers to show up at Thomas' affluent house while his parents are away on their anniversary. Debauchery, mayhem, chaos and copious helpings of nudity ensue. Project X's pace cannily echoes the ebb and flow of a real party: a slow start involving preparation and worry (the two 12 year old security guards Cooper hires are scene-stealers), bursts of excitement when the party gets going, highs and lows, checking in on people you know and how they're enjoying themselves, and then balls to the wall insanity as alcohol and drugs get everyone fucked up. Then the party really kicks into high gear. The steady escalation of events is Project X's masterstroke of plotting and pacing, with everything getting out of hand to the Nth degree. The bonzo third act is so unreal and out of control, it even makes the super powered smash up of downtown Seattle in Chronicle seem like a reasonable series of events. Through it all, Thomas tries to minimize the damage to his parents' house while simultaneously juggling his lifelong crush on beautiful blonde Kirby Bliss Blanton with his attempting to nail gorgeous raven-haired Alexis Knapp. In regards to the latter, one would love Thomas' problems. But in the harsh light of the morning after the party, you wouldn't want to be in Thomas's shoes, though his stern father's reaction to his son's escapades is eyebrow-raisingly funny. You stagger out of Project X feeling like you actually were at that party, and man, it was fucked up! In the best way. Except for that dwarf who punched everyone in the balls. But even then. One could easily poke holes at the logic of Project X and the conceit of its "found footage" format, but I was having too much fun to care. Thanks, Project X, for throwing such an epic party. I had an awesome time. And Happy Birthday, Thomas!