Review: Project X


As much as I loved growing up in Chicago, sometimes I wished I went to high school in California. All of these movies and TV shows show off these crazy house parties with endless supplies of liquor, some of the stereotypically-hot girls in the industry, and crazy shenanigans that combine the two. Basically, party movies make me wish my high school experience was just a tad more awesome than it was. Don’t get me wrong, I still went to a ton of parties and partook in a ton of crazy shenanigans, but nothing on the scale of Californian party movies.

In saying that, Project X is probably one of the best party movies I’ve seen. However, does this make it a good movie in general?

[Caution: This review contains minor spoilers.]

Project X
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Rating: R
Release Date: March 2, 20212

Project X is about three friends, Thomas (Thomas Mann), J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown), and Costa (Oliver Cooper) throwing a party for Thomas’ 17th birthday party. Not quite the coolest kids in school, Costa convinces Thomas to expand the party, sending out mass texts and email blasts promoting the party. While the night appears to be a bust, kids begin to trickle in. As the night gets later, the party elevates to outrageous extremes that could lead to dire consequences in the morning. But really, who’s thinking of the next morning while it’s dark outside?

There are minor plot points that run through the movie, such as Thomas’ friendship with his childhood friend, Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton), his crush on popular girl Alexis (Alexis Knapp), Costa’s over-the-top level of douchebaggery, and a drug deal that went wrong. Basically, the light plot developments, if you can even call them that, are nothing more than an excuse to throw a massive rager. Honestly, that’s what’s ultimately maters in a movie of this nature. But given the number of party movies that come out on a yearly basis, with The Hangover and Superbad being two of the better releases in recent memory, Project X had to set out to separate itself from the crowd. And man, did it ever.

Project X was produced by the director of The Hangover, Todd Phillips. This little tidbit is interesting, because the best way to describe Project X is to allude to the aforementioned title. Basically, Project X is like the party you only hear and see bits and pieces of throughout The Hangover. There are TONS of hot girls, boobs practically everywhere, loud music, terrible dancing, booze on booze on booze, and as the movie continues, more outrageous stuff.

It’s the outrageous stuff that lends itself well to selling Project X as a comedy film. The funniest (and oddly enough, the most offensive) scene involves a midget being tossed into an oven. After he escapes, he proceeds to punch everybody in the dick (and, for one unlucky girl, the vagina). A part of me felt awful that they’d put a midget in an oven, but those fleeting moments of offensiveness laid way to hilarity as he punched genitalia.

There’s some interesting camerawork throughout the film that I appreciated. The movie sets J.B.’s friend, Dax (Dax Flame) as a cameraman documenting the party, but the cinematography is done by Ken Seng (Street Thief). However, throughout the movie, there are these camera shifts where the focus is moved away from Dax’ POV to other sources, such as self-shot camera phones. These small instances made the party feel real.

The script was co-written by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall, and based on a story written by Bacall, who helped adapt Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. As previously stated, the shallowest element of the movie was the “story,” or lack thereof. But again, any and all plot development isn’t really necessary beyond its importance of setting up the party. Still… the movie could have benefited from some real development. The ending itself proves that nothing really changes for the main characters beyond the obvious. 

So is Project X worth seeing in theaters? It’s nowhere near as funny as Superbad or The Hangover, but it’s definitely more outrageous than the two of them combined. If you’re looking for some sort of development, whether it’s in the form of the plot or characters, you’ll be terribly disappointed. As entertained as I was watching the movie (and believe me when I say I was very entertained), I just couldn’t deem it a good movie. Being entertaining isn’t enough.

Watch Project X with a group of friends if you want to have a light evening full of boobs and drunken shenanigans, but don’t have the resources to make that a reality. It definitely caters itself to the same audiences that swarm to the theaters to catch the popcorn summer blockbusters. If you go into Project X with low expectations for conventional movie elements, then you’ll have as much fun with it that I did.