What nerd, male or female, has never wanted to be popular in school, has ne-
ver desired to be cool or part of the “In” crowd, has never craved student mass appeal, or
yearned to get laid by the hottest of the hot teenage girls and boys who don’t even know
their alive, let alone give them the time of day? With extremely few exceptions, probably
So, the obvious solution to this dilemma, (although quite ill advised by every
parent and yours truly), must be Project X, a found footage chronicle that takes Saturday
Night Live’s iconic “wild and crazy” to levels never before experienced by man or beast.
It’s basically about going from zero to hero in one incredibly, extreme one-shot, no holds
barred effort. As of this writing, there have already been copycats around the country try-
ing to emulate this phenomenon.
Thomas (Thomas Mann)who’s b-day is tomorrow, is your typical high school
loser, suffering everything from total obscurity to human obstacles by his locker. His
only friends are two other losers. The ever aggressive Costa and pudgy JB. Then there’s
an attractive girl named Kirby who’s part of their group and seems like more than just a
friend to Thomas.
Costa (Oliver Cooper) is the unadulterated architect of the project as opposed
to reluctant birthday boy Thomas who has absolutely no possible concept of what’s in
store for him next evening. He figures since Thomas’s parents are heading out for the
weekend, why not take advantage of the opportunity to throw the biggest birthday party
the world has ever seen? After some harsh, ambivalent negotiations on the number of
attendees and some rules about the house, he gets right to work, using every means of
communications available to get the word out. Costa’s endeavors work all too well.
Anyone who has seen “The Hangover” and it’s hilarious sequel, knows that
Project X was a perfect fit for Todd Phillips. He decides to kick back as producer this
time, leaving director duties in the capable hands of video/commercial helmer Nima
Nourizadeh. Naturally, like Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams of Super 8, his influence
is all over it. The loose, free style dialogue, dangerous antics and odd characters which in-
clude a pint size individual getting caught in a tight place, are all staples of Phillips
raunchy sense of humor.
It may be a found footage style flick, but thankfully Project X is not like Clo-
verfield. Much, if not all of the mounting lunacy is visualized in a more conventional way
by cinematographer Ken Seng coupled with Jeff Groth’s methodical editing. Those of you
who may have suffered from that dizzying, incessant movement of a handheld camera
won’t have to worry. Being dimly lit only infuses all photographic motions (especially
slow) of the dance/house/pool party with risqué excitement.
Even as the festivities begin, you realize that the more people who show up,
the more things spiral out of control. There’s no way Thomas can keep this news worthy
hodge-podge of debauchery from boiling over. And yet despite the rowdy humor, outra-
geous exploits and serious dangers that develop, it’s just another average birthday party
that grows beyond it’s ability to contain itself.
Consequences for any young person attempting a huge bash like Project X in a
plush Los Angeles neighborhood is ultimately severe. Maybe Nourizadeh should’ve
shown a “Don’t try this at home” disclaimer before the movie actually started. Party-
ing like a rock star, or in this case rock concert, can have it’s personal rewards; yet one
thing is certain. It can make and break you simultaneously. Party responsibly.