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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Project X (review)

Project X red light Oliver Cooper Thomas Mann Jonathan Daniel Brown

Worst Party Ever

It may have entered your consciousness that Hollywood movies are today made pretty much only for horny, irresponsible, adolescent boys (of all ages and genders: because, you know, if you want to actually enjoy going to the movies these days, you’d better learn to like stuff that horny, irresponsible, adolescent boys like). In a loathsome attempt to drive home this noxious fact, Project X has been delivered unto us by our entertainment overlords, to rain despair upon you and to remove any vestige of hope you might have secreted away in the furtherest corners of your movie-loving heart that this state of affairs might ever change. Imagine a smelly, sweaty sock stomping on the face of humanity forever, as its owner shouts, “I just wanted to get some pussy!”*
The only logical step “forward” for movies from here is to actually just let actual horny, irresponsible, adolescent boys made the movies themselves. Project X is meant to “entertainingly” mislead you into thinking that’s what’s happened here, but there’s no reason why we can’t just eliminate the middlemen of overgrown adolescents who write the scripts and direct the action. Mark my words: it’s only a matter of time before some 17-year-old idiot does something stupid, dangerous, antisocial, and probably criminal; gets his pal to video it all; and is rewarded with a distribution deal for the result.

It’s Thomas’s (Thomas Mann: It’s Kind of a Funny Story) 17th birthday today, and his asshole of a friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) wants to give him a party to remember, one that will attract all the cool kids from school, the likes of whom only deign to notice them in order to make fun of them, and one that will make the “bitches and hos” at school want to have sex with them. Thomas’s parents are away, and so Costa plans a bash that is almost certainly destined to end up with Thomas’s house completely trashed, but hey: What are friends for? Their friend Dax (Dax Flame) will follow them around with a camera, and their other friend JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) will stand around looking astonished by everything that’s happening.

Costa’s plan succeeds beyond the wildest dreams of everyone involved. Of course it does! This is horny, irresponsible, adolescent male fantasy taken to the extreme. (This was written by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall, the latter of whom scripted Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and so this is not to be unexpected.) Dax’s camera captures all the naked breasts and teenaged derrieres that shows up at the party — and that’s all they are; the female human beings presumably attached to these body parts are rarely looked in the face. But, see: that’s authentic. That’s what a horny teen like Dax would focus on, right? So you can’t complain about that? It’s reality.

It’s also totally authentic how there are no plain or ordinary-looking girls in high school — or, wait: perhaps that’s because the ugly bitches took heed of Costa’s broadcast-text invite to the school, which requested “Ugly bitches stay home.” Anyway, it’s real! It’s also totally authentic that most of the 750 girls who show up at the party is a sad Girls Gone Wild wannabe so desperate for attention and so lacking in self-esteem that she will totally strip down to her panties for a dip in the pool and to bounce in front of Dax’s camera. What can you expect from bitches and hos, anyway? It’s reality!

There are no characters here: Thomas is the dork, Costa is the jerk, JB is the fat one, and Dax is the creepy goth, and that’s the most you can say about them. So real! Characters are not required by this movie, which is intended to render these guys anonymous and “identifiable” by the audience, who are presumed to share in the needs, desires, and goals of horny, irresponsible, adolescent boys (ie: “pussy!”). Newbie feature director Nima Nourizadeh hails from the land of music videos and commercials: his job is always to make stuff look sexy and cool, make you want to want it. We’re supposed to want to be at this party. Even if you’re a bitch or a ho. Even if you’re an ugly bitch. Then you’re probably sighing over everything you cannot have, such as the drunken regard of people who peaked in high school.

There’s much to rejoice for ugly or dorky teenaged guys, however. Bitches and hos will want to have sex with you, and when your party descends into chaos and — literally — civil disorder that brings out riot police and helicopter-assisted firefighting techniques, you will be a hero. Are you a horny, irresponsible, adolescent boy whose frontal lobe isn’t fully formed yet (or do you wish you were), and so you’re not quite capable of appreciating the reasonable logical outcomes of your actions? You’re awesome, dude.

For the majority of the world that is not a horny, irresponsible, adolescent boy lacking fully developed executive functions of the frontal lobe (and doesn’t wish to fantasize about being one), you may well be appalled by Project X. (The title, by the way, makes no sense. It’s like they couldn’t be bothered to change it from the studio’s internal working title for accounting purposes.) It is not normal adolescent rebellion depicted here: it is sociopathic insurrection. It’s an orgy of destruction that is meant to be cool. And it’s not a cautionary tale. It’s not a warning that recognizes that real-life teenaged boys can indeed be colossal idiots sometimes, and perhaps we need to work together as a society to minimize the damage they can do, like perhaps training up our sons to be responsible citizens. It’s a celebration of colossal adolescent idiocy as something we should all aspire to, and would do, if we could only be as awesomely cool as a horny 17-year-old boy.

*100% genuine quote from the film


US/Canada release date: Mar 2 2012 | UK release date: Mar 2 2012

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated SS: requires a sociopathic level of selfishness for full enjoyment
MPAA: rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem - all involving teens
BBFC: rated 18 (contains drug use, strong sex references, and very strong language)

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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