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Written by: Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012 | 26 comments | Featured, Old Format

Project X

It’s Thomas’s (played by actor Thomas Mann) birthday today. His parents are going out of town for the weekend in light of their anniversary. He’s been given the privilege of staying home alone for the next few days, without parental guidance, oversight from relatives or family acquaintances.

He has two nebbish friends, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), fixated on throwing a reckless high school party tonight. The objective these three senior geeks have is to be considered “cool” by their classmates, defy laws, and possibly get lucky with an attractive (preferably intoxicated) female.

Project X – through a documentary style of filmmaking – is the chronicling of the most “epic party” … ever. It’s the type of bash every high school student wishes he or she could attend.

So, how bizarre is this junction?

Lets see. We have droves of varying alcohol, naked women (both high school and college), conspicuous folks from Craig’s list, an older father who thinks he’s still in high school, a midget, marijuana, cars in pools, a drug dealer with a flame thrower, two child security guards and an abundance of profanity.

And yet – albeit every ridiculous element this film is constructed with – Project X is a long and unfunny winding road to nowhere.

Thomas is a rather likable protagonist, but he’s laced with two buffoons for friends. Costa is the type of babbling, cruel intentioned idiot everyone despises. JB is in the film because of his weight. There isn’t a ten minutes stretch without a joke directed towards JB’s tubby demeanor.

The kicker here is our producer: Todd Phillips. Known for his work on The Hangover franchise, Old School, and Due Date, the director/producer has created for himself a niche in the world of irreverent cinema.

Perhaps Project X can serve a reminder that the studio behind the film has little effect on the quality of the final product. The same studio that put out Casablanca, also released Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Now, I suppose you can make a correlation between Bogart and fluffy animals, but it’s tough.

Point being, while The Hangover was a powerhouse comedy and Old School was forgettable fun, Project X is a disposable, unexciting, grossly manipulative wreck.

They're having a good time. Unfortunately, the viewer isn't so lucky.

I’ve seen few films in my life that had a message as bluntly incorrect and offensive as Nima Nourizadhe’s directorial debut. “Hey, if you disobey your parents, degrade society, women, humanity, and hurt others, friends will swarm your way.”

Is that the message our culture wants to send out? I suspect not.

For those who think I may be overanalyzing the film too much, let me state that this is not because I have a certain disdain for high school grounded mantras.

Superbad is one of the best comedies of the past decade, and contains – through high school experiences – authenticity and pure laughter. It’s a much better version of Project X, and contains nearly the same plotline. All three characters in the former film want to have sexual relations with a girl – but while attempting to do so, a greater bond of friendship ignites them all.

Still, Project X is not an atrocious film because it projects a vile message or because it contains an entirely unrealistic plot. It’s a heap of self-congratulatory, shoddily produced trash because it fails to be humorous. Even at a measly 88 minute run time, the film scarcely elicits anything that could be considered comedy or, you know, cinematic enjoyment.

I will say though, I didn’t believe it was possible for a film to be more placid than the girls our three protagonists lust after. What a grandstanding achievement.

Rating: ★☆☆☆

Project X

Project X (2012)

Cast: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Writer: Michael Bacall, Matt Drake

Runtime: 88 minutes

Genre: comedy

Trailer Project X


There are 26 comments for this post.

  1. James Ward on March 1, 2012 11:12 am

    Wow. Someone was grumpy. But I agree, it was not a good movie.

    I wonder how people — say teenage and young adult males, the target audience of the film — would react to a film that depicted them as nearly faceless receptacles for bodily fluids as “Project X” did for every female on screen, except for Kirby.

    By the way, Costa was a truly horrible person. I would cross the street to just avoid the creep.

  2. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 11:15 am

    Yeah, Costa was a despicable human being.

    Not too grumpy, just baffled by the lack of comedy that took place.

  3. Nate Rodriguez on March 1, 2012 11:23 am

    Good review.

  4. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 12:28 pm

    Appreciate the lengthy comment Nate.

  5. Ruth on March 1, 2012 3:48 pm

    I hadn’t even heard of this one until a few days ago, when tweets kept popping up about how vile and horrible it was. I took a peek at the trailer – I know why studios will produce films like this…but – ugh, I can’t even finish that sentence – why, god, why!!!!!

  6. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 4:34 pm

    Sometimes films this vile become actually darkly humorous. This is not of those occasions.

  7. Dirtywithclass on March 1, 2012 5:04 pm

    I have not read a single good review of this.

  8. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 5:08 pm

    And expect you won’t my friend.

  9. Rob Schaak on March 1, 2012 5:30 pm

    dont think ill be seeing that in theaters

  10. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 6:00 pm

    That’s probably a good idea Rob.

  11. NeverTooEarlyMP on March 1, 2012 6:05 pm

    I think I saw a trailer for this before Harold and Kumar, but then didn’t see it anywhere else (maybe they didn’t think it fit with the Oscar fare I’ve been watching the last few months). I thought it looked pretty bad, but based on what you’ve written here it is even worse than I anticipated. Sorry that you had to sit thought this one!

  12. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 6:30 pm

    I suspect they showed the preview of this film before HAROLD & KUMAR because the two film’s demographics are similar.

  13. Travis McCollum on March 1, 2012 7:42 pm

    This movie…just no. And here I thought Gone was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years. Well actually it still is but this was just disgustingly inept. I hated every minute.

  14. Travis McCollum on March 1, 2012 7:43 pm

    The way I see it, if you think LMFAO is the best thing to happen to music in recent memory, then this film is for you. Otherwise…whew.

  15. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 9:23 pm

    Thank you Travis for both of your comments. I don’t listen to LMFAO … I enjoy having a soul.

    As for Gone … I didn’t watch the film … I enjoy having a soul.

  16. Quinn Anonymous on March 1, 2012 10:31 pm

    Good Review…. But really. I’m a little disappointed. Seeing Todd Phillips great productions of The Hangover and Old School (Let’s not forget Due Date.. Anyone?), I expected at least some potential from this overly-intensified Superbad. I definitely see a wide variety of people loving it and then late relentlessly quotes from the movie to seem funny. Ahh, what a shame Todd Phillips. What a shame.

  17. Sam Fragoso on March 1, 2012 11:24 pm

    Haha, Due Date. That actors in it … right?

    Seriously, though, Rick Bentley said it perfectly … Project X is just Superbad on crack.

    How poetically eloquent.

  18. ben best friend on March 4, 2012 7:18 pm

    i swear to god sam if you dont change this to a 3 star or the act of valor to at least a FULL 2 or even 3 i will make health hell for you

  19. Sam Fragoso on March 4, 2012 9:27 pm

    Okay Ben.

  20. Fitz on March 4, 2012 11:47 pm

    Bad couple of weeks for movies. Hopefully you enjoyed John Carter. I’m looking forward to it this Friday.

  21. Sam Fragoso on March 5, 2012 12:20 am

    I wish I could say something about JOHN CARTER … you’ll have to read Thursday/Friday.

  22. Nathan Rodriguez on March 8, 2012 8:10 am

    This movie was to hyped. I kinda expected it not being that great.
    Your doing a good job Sir Sam

  23. Sam Fragoso on March 8, 2012 9:57 am

    Hey, thanks Nate!

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