Film Review “Project X”

Starring: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown
Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh
Rated: R
Running time: 1 hour 28 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 4 out 5 stars

We’ve all done it. For some unexplained reason your parents decide to go out of town and think you’re responsible enough to stay home alone. Of course, there are always three big rules to obey:

1. Don’t use the car
2. Don’t go into our room/office/other off limits place.
And of course, the biggest of them all:
3. NO PARTIES!

Thomas (Mann) is a kid that we all knew in high school. Not really cool, not really NOT cool…you know him but you don’t KNOW him. Costa (Cooper) is another kid we all knew. He’s just like Thomas only you DO know him. And he’s really annoying. When Thomas’ parents decide to take a trip without Thomas on his birthday Costa invites a few people over for a small celebration. 1500 people later, it’s the party of the century!

A funny combination of “Risky Business” and “Superbad,” “Project X” is a fond look at high school parties and the people that attend them. Shot almost documentary style (Costa has hired one of the kids from the AV team to follow Thomas around all weekend), the film takes a familiar theme and gives it an original twist. Besides Thomas and Costa, there is their friend JB (Brown), a portly boy whose only apparent goal in life is to hook up with a girl. We also meet Kirby, a cute blonde who has been Thomas’ friend since childhood. It’s obvious there could be more between them but neither is brave enough to pursue it. There’s Alexis (Alexis Knapp), Thomas’ dream girl. And about 1497 other people. Which, by definition, is a party!

Written by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall, “Project X” takes the best of the two films I mentioned above, throws in a little “Dazed and Confused” and then adds enough original humor to make it consistently funny. From “Dazed” you get the old guy who is much too old to be hanging out with high schoolers. “Superbad” contributes the chubby guy looking to score. And “Risky Business” donates everything from the young man looking for excitement to a crazed drug dealer, apparently a homage to Joe Pantoliano’s “Guido, the Killer Pimp.” Throw in an angry neighbor, eighth grade security guards and plenty of nudity and you’ve got the perfect “adult comedy” for the college set. I also noticed that apparently 18 year olds hold their alcohol much better than my generation did. I should also note that when I was in high school 18 WAS the legal drinking age, though I may have imbibed at an earlier age! This is director Nourizadeh’s first feature, and he keeps the film moving. Sometimes the faux documentary style can slow a film down but the story and, more importantly, the humor flow smoothly.

In March 1979 I threw what is still referred to today as “The Greatest Toga Party in the History of Tampa!” Like I said…we’ve all done it.

 

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