What is Project X? It’s the most insane house party you’ve ever seen. Imagine people running around with flamethrowers, driving cars into swimming pools and diving off rooftops into bouncy castles and you’re just about there. Complete anarchy.
From the writer of Scott Pilgrim vs The World, Michael Bacall, and the director of The Hangover, Todd Philips, here as a producer, comes this teenage dream of 3 high school nobodies in Pasadena, trying to become locals heroes by throwing the biggest birthday shindig their school has ever seen.
For his first directorial effort, after directing music videos for Hot Chip and Lily Allen, Nima Nourizadeh uses the ‘found footage’ style, where the characters appear to be making the film. Here, the boys’ goth friend Dax (Dax Flame) is the cameraman, but also takes on a character of his own, as the weirdo in a trench coat who doesn’t drink.
As well as Dax, who weaves through raving crowds and is occasionally spotted in mirrors and windows, Nima encouraged the cast to film on iPhones and Blackberrys, to catch real segments of the party, which took place over five weeks. He said that by doing this, he wanted to “show some of the realities of what kids do” and he does succeed in doing this, if only to fuel the fire that is a parent’s worst nightmare, showing the kind of wild teen America we only hear about.
This makes the audience believe in the events, and makes the poor script/weak narrative, where geek birthday boy Thomas (newcomer Thomas Mann) finds love in his best friend Kirby and, egged on by his macho friend Costa, snogs another girl and is inevitably found out, seem almost irrelevant.
Most of this film is spent marvelling at the enormity of the rave, bringing out your inner party animal. Their fratparty-esqe debauchery can be watched in awe, at a safe distance and still manages to be entertaining and involving.
The friends are an annoyingly charismatic bunch (think the Inbetweeners gone Stateside) and succeed in passing on that sense of youthful recklessness with their irresponsible antics. For characters whose sole goal is to get wasted and get laid, seeing them score is the equivalent of seeing Sid from Skins Season One, popping his cherry.
Destructive, drugged up, and occasionally offensive (stuffing a midget in an oven, punching children), Project X defines itself as a party movie to end all party movies. Filmmaking wise, this won’t be winning any awards, but for all its mind-blowing chaos, the extremities make kids’ wildest dreams real; its mayhem is pure escapism. As they say, this one’s a game-changer.