Whenever the tagline “from Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover” is used on the cover of a Blu-Ray, you should know exactly what to expect. Project X is in the same league as Phillips’ insanely moronic Hangover films, if anything it’s worse. There’s not a single likable character in the film and the found-footage element works for all of 20 minutes. Project X is a film that consists of recycled party clips that play on repeat over and over and over, until the grand finale, which is forcefully slapped on and definitely out of place. Approach with extreme caution.
It’s been a few months since I’ve last seen Project X and I’ll admit that my initial response was a bit harsh. I still don’t particularly like the film, but while watching the Blu-Ray I’ve noticed that the little stuff I did enjoy holds up well, while the rest of the stuff that I hated sinks even lower and lower. Let’s jump into a quick breakdown of the film, shall we?
Thomas (Thomas Mann) is closely out his high school years as a girlfriendless virgin. He’s done absolutely nothing that’s worthy of praise by fellow classmates. His friends JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and Costa (Oliver Cooper) have cooked up a plan for Thomas’ birthday, which is a massive-sized party at his house. His parents are going out of town for a few days, which is the perfect opportunity for Thomas and his two besties to get their drink on and possibly get laid.
That’s the entire drive for the film. Get laid and have a couple drinks while doing so. The goals are single-minded and dumb, but that’s generally what goes through the mind of most high schoolers. It’s not that the incredibly thin plot just couldn’t make for an interesting movie, because I’ve honestly seen tons of films with much less going for it. What makes Project X a chore to sit through are its characters. The trio of idiots are all equally annoying.
Thomas may be the most likable, but the decisions he makes are just as irrational as the purposefully annoying Costa. JB plays up the fat guy stereotype fine, with most of the service level jokes pointing at his weight or dress code. There’s not a lot going for any of them and things get a lot worse once they open their mouths and start to speak.
The stuff that they say is unbelievably tasteless. They’re instant douche-bags that continue to spew out filth. A film like 21 Jump Street works so well because even though the characters do some dumb stuff they always do it for the right reasons. They’re good guys that make dumb mistakes, but learn from them.
Not Project X.
This Todd Phillips-produced comedy has one thing on its agenda and that is to film the craziest party of all time. That’s fine and dandy, but where does that translate into a movie? Most of the film is spliced with “real” party clips and those quickly bore due to the lack of repetition. It’s sort of amusing watching someone drink a lot of alcohol and jump off a roof, but watching the same thing happen five times, with slight alterations isn’t all that impressive.
Project X rides on this low-level filmmaking for most of the running time and it almost passes as a film worthy of a few true chuckles, but then it kicks you in the nuts and delivers one of the most forced out-of-nowhere endings of all time. As the film comes down from its adrenaline high somewhere in the third act it changes pace and focuses on a relationship between Thomas and a friend. This relationship was touched upon very vaguely in the beginning of the film. It popped up again during the middle of the film, but only for a few minutes, which was more than enough time for Thomas to forget all about it.
But then the relationship suddenly becomes a serious part of the story, which is A. against everything the film has setup for these particular characters and B. incredibly dimwitted. Not a single person tried making this relationship part of the story during the beginning of the film and now we’re forced to suddenly care, for a minute or two? I call massive bullshit on this one.
Project X only succeeds in showing you how our youth is slowly transforming into rotten, brainless little turds. It promotes all of what’s wrong with society and it rewards those who do badly with things like sex and friends. The wild party stuff at the end is entertaining, but the film’s message is cold, heartless and darkly true.
The 1080p video transfer for the film is a mixed bag. There’s more than one source for the film, which means the level of class ranges from detailed and crisp one minute to grainy and smudgy the next. It’s all a part of the found-footage presentation, so you’ve got to give it points for remaining authentic, even though it robs the overall quality.
Parties tend to sound pretty damn sweet and Project X‘s 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is just further proof of how breathtaking and real lossless audio can sound. You become a part of the loud and obnoxious party almost instantly. The track never lets go, even after the puking and passing out.
The disc comes with the following bonus features:
- Theatrical & Extended cuts of the film (HD)
- 3 Featurettes (HD)
- DVD Copy
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
The Blu-Ray looks great one minute and bad the next, with the audio track at least staying strong for most of the film. The 3 short featurettes are 14 minutes in running time and mostly follow the aftermath of the party. The extended cut is more of same that was presented in the theatrical cut. This is one of Warner Bros. weaker packages on Blu-Ray, which only helps make the purchase that much more avoidable.
There’s not much replay value for a film like this. Once you’ve “experienced” it once you’ll probably not want to revisit it for a long time. The whole found-footage party aspect is a different approach that does nothing more than fail, because of its piss-poor characters and obvious intentions.
Project X is a more than acceptable film on a technical level, but there’s just nothing redeeming on any other level. The story is weak and the relationships between characters are almost non-existent.
There's bad and then there's Project X bad. How a movie this mean and offensive to our youth even got made is beyond me. It's a celebration of all that is wrong with society and yet it still has its entertaining moments. Watch it with your brain off and lots of alcohol content in your drink.