Review by Gordon Justesen
Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Dax Flame, Miles Teller
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: June 19, 2012
“TIL THE BREAK OF DAWN, YO!”
I’ll be the first to admit, there is absolutely no reason to defend this movie. I wouldn’t disagree with anyone who found it to be reprehensible, vulgar, exploitive, tasteless and completely ridden of any moral value. But I simply have to give it up for Project X, which takes the teen house party movie to extremes that I didn’t even think existed.
That’s right, you can pretty much forget about every party movie that has preceded this one. This is hands down the end all, be all movie of that sort. Just like it’s pretty much now pointless to make another disaster movie after Roland Emmerich’s 2012, there’s absolutely no need to make another party movie after this.
Shot in the “found footage” format, the movie documents the planning and inevitable execution of the house party to end all house parties. Thomas (Thomas Mann) is about to turn 17, and his parents are heading out of town for the weekend. This results in his best friend, the hyper vulgar Costa (Oliver Cooper), spreading word throughout the school about the epic birthday party being held at Thomas’ house.
What starts out as a little get together of only high school students soon turns into the house party equivalent of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Thanks to word of mouth and the power of social media, busloads of people show up at Thomas’ doorstep. As the night escalates, so does the party madness…and that still doesn’t illustrate how frickin insane this movie gets.
And what goes on is pointless for me to put into words. Because you simply have to see it for yourself. All I will say is that the party operates at three stages: mad, crazy and all out ANARCHY!
It makes perfect sense that this movie would have director Todd Phillips listed as a producer. It literally feels as though Phillips, who made two of the biggest party-esque comedies of the past decade (Old School, The Hangover), wanted to conceive a project (no pun intended) that would surpass the insane excess already displayed by the aforementioned movies and make, as mentioned earlier, the party movie to end all party movies. And boy, did he ever succeed in pulling it off!
It’s all too easy to look at this movie and instantly compare it to Superbad (it does, after all, contain the same trio of friends as that movie had), but you would be wrong in making such a comparison. Only 25% of that movie took place at a house party, and yes some wild shenanigans did take place. Project X, meanwhile, is operating on a whole other level of crazy behavior, and 95% of this movie IS the party.
One major aspect that adds to WOW factor of the movie is the choice to make this a “found footage” movie, which was actually a smart move. Here’s a filmmaking process that I was starting to grow weary of, after seeing it done one times too many in disastrous horror fare (The Devil Inside, anyone?). But this year has managed to deliver two movies that have done the most with it (the other being the superhero tale Chronicle).
Critics took a major beating on this movie and, like I said earlier, it’s easy to see why. The filmmakers knew they were going to turn many people off with such an in-your-face approach to such easily offensive material. But I simply have to give credit to Project X for going to the extremes that it did, and for literally speaking to the hell-raising partier inside me!
The look of found footage movies can be a rough one, even when it comes an HD presentation. But Warner has done about as terrific a job as one can possibly do with the look of this Blu-ray release. The main camera action (all captured by a fourth and mainly unseen friend named Dax) is extremely well presented, and downright fantastic when capturing individual bits at the party (girls dancing, girls removing clothing, etc.). The additional footage caught from cell phones and other cameras is what doesn’t play off so well, but luckily it far from ruins the overall presentation.
With a endless, boom-bastic soundtrack loaded with dance and hip-hop tracks, this DTS HD mix has got what it takes to blow the roof of your house. In other words, it’s already high on the list of the year’s best sounding Blu-ray releases. Dialogue delivery is great, only that’s not really an issue once the party starts because from that point on, it’s all loud music and periodic madness that also makes for great sound (fire flames and such). It really does the job of bringing the house party to your house!
Not a whole lot, unfortunately. We do get two versions of the movie, the theatrical version and an extended cut which runs six minutes longer. And for extras, we have two brief featurettes; “Project X: Declassified”, which quickly goes over the making of the movie intercut with various interviews with cast and crew members, and “Project X: The Pasadena Three, which focuses on the casting of the young unknowns in the lead roles. Finally, we have “Project Xpensive”, which is a tally of all the property damage the resulted from such a fun night.
Party chaos has never been more chronicled more effectively on film. Project X is indefensible, but damn if it isn’t a joyous insane ride through the best party ever conceived and executed. If you aren’t able to throw your own house party, this is without question the next best thing…and then some!