Project X (2012)

Crimson Quill’s Appraisal #206

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Number of Views: One
Release Date: March 2, 2012
Genre: Comedy
Country of Origin: United States
Budget: $12,000,000
Box office: $102,700,000
Running Time: 88 minutes
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Producer: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Matt Drake
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Producer: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Matt Drake, Michael Bacall
Story: Michael Bacall
Cinematography: Ken Seng
Editing: Jeff Groth
Studios: Silver Pictures, Green Hat Films
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Stars: Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Dax Flame, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Brady Hender, Nick Nervies, Alexis Knapp, Miles Teller, Peter Mackenzie, Caitlin Dulany, Rob Evors, Rick Shapiro, Pete Gardner and Martin Klebba as Angry Little Person

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Suggested Audio Candy:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs Heads Will Roll

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There is always one party from school which sticks in the memory. An epic shindig which proved the stomping grounds for the cool kids and provided enough cover for the geeks and dweebs to fly under the radar. Such a gathering would likely achieve legendary status and be talked about for years afterwards as the cool kids fretted about the overdue child support for their three children born out-of-wedlock and those nerds landed prestigious jobs as rocket scientists and physicians.

Project X

Keeper attended one such bash and it was indeed a rowdy affair. Drinks were spilled, toilet seats broken and the entire perimeter was awash in vomit. Meanwhile, cherries were burst, hymens shattered and invariably a fight broke out. Actually it was more handbags at ten paces but it still counts. At no point during proceedings was a foul-tempered midget crammed into an oven however, so I guess Project X takes the prize on this count.

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Before I go any further I feel duty-bound to point out that this is not Jonathan Kaplan’s film of the same title. There is no sign of Matthew Broderick and neither is there the heartbreak of watching any space-bound chimpanzees poisoned by radiation in a simulated flight chamber. I will say this however. If old Bluebeard had shown up here he would have ended up with the same gormless look on his face come its conclusion.

project x

Think Superbad and then think again. Nima Nourizadeh’s first feature is a couple of echelons down the evolutionary scale and contains none of the gut-busting hilarity or clever wit of Greg Mottola’s movie. What it does have is one hell of a get-together and over 1500 cum-tanked co-eds and not an ounce of political correctness or thoughtful underlying narrative. This is crass, vulgar, one-dimensional and lacking in anything resembling class. I rather enjoyed it.

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Nourizadeh copped rather a lot of slack for his film’s misogynistic portrayal of teenage kicks late through the night and it received something of a battering from the press although this didn’t stop it turning over $100m at the box office. What does this prove? It says to Keeper, get off your soap boxes and remember why you watch films in the first place. It’s not high art and neither does it intend to be. It is puerile fun and a rollercoaster well worth strapping yourselves into.It may almost career off the tracks at numerous points and won’t leave much in the way of food for your thoughts but it does have a number of other redeeming qualities. Well one anyhoots but it’s a doozy.

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It charts the exploits of three nobodies who arrange to throw a party while one of their parents are out-of-town. The three unlikely lads consist of Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and they are tired of being regarded with contempt with their peers and ignored by the fairer sex. This represents their one opportunity to gain legendary status and make them more appealing to the ladies. Of course, without the small intimate gathering turning into an utter free-for-all we wouldn’t be left with a film so disaster strikes repeatedly and things go from bad to worse to “Oh shit. Time to down one last glass of home-brewed punch and get the fuck out of here”. You guessed it, shit escalates.

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Oh boy does it escalate. It starts harmlessly enough, a sign denoting naked girls only which Costa opportunistically plants beside the pool is taken literally and the bikini tops begin to pop off in unison. Alcohol is consumed and upchuck chucked but nothing which a good clear-up job in the morning wouldn’t remedy. That is until the garden gnome comes out. Unwittingly pilfered from their local neighborhood drug dealer, this figurine is promptly given the old Piñata treatment and busts wide open to reveal enough ecstasy to floor a big-boned sperm whale.

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From hereon in it spirals into cannonballing from rooftops, hair-dyed pooches, flame throwing psychopaths and ultimately full-scale riots, all under the watchful gaze of hovering news choppers reporting this Pasadena party as being the most out-of-control in the nation’s history. Plus, of course, we have the raging dwarf who delivers nutbag shots to as many of the partygoers’ genitals as he can plant his stubby fists upon. At last count I believe hit at least eight pairs which equates to sixteen pummeled testicles. That may well be some kind of a record.

Project X

Wisely the three lads enlist the services of their own security outfit although two taser-brandishing spindly twelve year-olds with chips on their shoulders who weigh the same as a bag of sopping eels is hardly the most propitious rearguard. This is proven by the fact that moustached date-rapists end up on the guest list and that pocket brawler didn’t come out of thin-air now did he? Needless to say, by the hour mark, it has long descended into downright bedlam.

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One reason why Nourizadeh’s film was vilified was its treatment of women. Other than the obligatory meaningful love interest the female species is depicted via a whole host of upskirt shots and unleashed puppies. They’re all improbably good-looking and exist purely to titillate and incubate; branded only as bitches, whores and sluts, which caused immense agitation in some quarters. Thing is, was anyone really expecting some chimp’s dinner party with croissants and lemon tea? I’ve already informed y’all that there ain’t no monkeys in this sanctuary so the answer therefore must be no.

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To upset any fun-Nazis further there is no real epiphany or journey of discovery for any of the three amigos and any chance to put out a positive message is squandered. Again, I ask, positive message? If we want that then we watch Dead Poets Society. However if we feel like watching a posse of sweaty revelers getting drunk, high and sexed then we’ve come to the right place. I’ve heard this called the Animal House for the iPhone generation and would have to concur, although I’m not about to put it on par by any stretch.

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Shot in cinéma vérité style from a first person perspective so as to heighten one’s sense of being a gatecrasher at the party, Nourizadeh’s film is loud, brash and lacking in anything resembling restraint. Bachelor Party it isn’t, there are no coke-sniffing mules, he-shes or dicks in buns and certainly no charismatic lead a la Tom Hanks. But it does what it says on the tin and bottom line is, it’s rather a blast when all is said and done. Like any good soirée, just don’t expect to feel good about yourself come the morning.

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Crimson Quill’s Judgement: 7/10

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