"Project X" Review — 4.5 out of 5 stars
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 09:50:24
Todd Phillips may be the last guy in Hollywood who knows how to have fun.
The director behind The Hangover, The Hangover II, Due Date, and Old School understands that movies are essentially about escapism. He also gets that comedies need to make you laugh from the first frame until the end credits. Otherwise, what's the point?
If there's even a two-minute space where you're not laughing, it's probably not worth the price of admission. Hollywood's on a hot streak of pumping out brainless sequels, trite comic book adaptations, remakes of remakes, and Academy Award contenders [and winners] so weighty, self-important, dour, and overly emotional that you watch them once and quickly forget about them—or need counseling.
On the flip side, you can watch The Hangover multiple times, let go, and just laugh. The same can be said for Project X, which Phillips produced and Nima Nourizadeh directed. A no-holds barred raucous and raunchy riot, the film combines nonstop laughs with a fresh take on a house party
Project X also flips the script on the found footage film. Audiences have become used to the tactic as a centerpiece of horror flicks, most notably the Paranormal Activity franchise. However, Project X is a found footage comedy. It's a nice touch, and Nourizadeh masterfully directs the anarchy with a comedic flare that's all his own. He gets right up in the character's faces and in the fray of the madness so you really do feel like you're there without getting dizzy. Project X establishes Nourizadeh as a force to be reckoned with.
The movie begins with the three protagonists—Thomas [Thomas Mann], Costa [Oliver Cooper], and JB [Jonathan Daniel Brown]—preparing to throw a party. Their friend Dax, a quiet goth, follows them around with a video camera taping every moment. Costa doesn't envision his buddy Thomas's birthday as another small get together. No, he wants to break records.
The film's setup with the three main "losers" inviting "girls they can't get" and everyone else under the sun is hilarious in its own right. There's an unsettlingly funny boner encounter as well as some incisive insight into modern high school communication. We're in a 4G world, and Project X does an exceptional job showing this generation's reliance on technology without ever making it overbearing.
Of course, the party is an apocalyptic mess of awesomeness something like the party in Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video, but it's the small flourishes that make Project X so magical. The boys go to buy weed from a drug dealer named T-Rick, and James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" is cackling from the TV before a high speed chase fueled by a little Queens of the Stone Age. Following a Todd Phillips tradition at this point, the music in the film is simply perfect.
There's a shot of a dog flying away on balloons and a moon bounce in the back of Thomas's yard. The girls—Kirby [Kirby Bliss Blanton] and Alexis [Alexis Knapp]—emanate that air of majesty while still getting down and dirty at the party. Like any unforgettable night, certain things stick out—the little guy in the oven, the gnome, the fire burning along to Metallica's "Battery", the pint-size security guards, the fight with the neighbor, etc. The list goes on, and you're going to need to see it a few times to get all the laughs.
In the end, Project X is both groundbreaking and sidesplitting. Unique, undeniable, and utterly uproarious, it's the ultimate party comedy. It also ups the ante for all party flicks to come and raises the bar for 21st century comedy.
Phillips and Nourizadeh have created one of the best comedies of the decade. Go into it expecting to have a blast, and you will. Not everything has to be so serious…
Will you be seeing Project X on March 2?
Watch our exclusive interviews with the cast, Nima Nourizadeh and Todd Phillips here!