This project has the “X” factor

This project has the “X” factor

Worth It
Mar 18, 2012
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Every generation has their raunchy, more about teen-fantasy party movie. There is Porky’s, emergency Animal House, American Pie, and my personal favourite, Weird Science. But this month, the class of 2012 get their very own ode-to-wishful-thinking…Project X. This docu-style fictional story, based on a true event, hit theatres recently, garnering the number two box office spot (beat out by the kid-friendly, The Lorax).

Walking into the theatre, I thought, “Okay, here’s another hormone-induced romp that fulfills the desperate desires of today’s most pathetic and lonely teens”. (That’s right…I admit my pre-conceptions about movies. Most critics don’t. But I do…so there.) It’s Thomas’ birthday and his best friends, Costa and J.B., plan to celebrate his birthday by throwing the biggest and baddest party ever. Thomas’ parents have left town for the weekend (…convenient…) and the boys set out to use Thomas’ house as ground “0” for project “x”. These three stooges long to be a part of the in-crowd and see this night as their golden opportunity to gain the respect of the entire school. As expected, once the party takes off, things go from crazy to insane until the sun rises on a completely trashed house (actually, neighbourhood).

There’s not a whole lot of new ground being broken here. The protagonists are typical; nerds. The desire is obvious; to party. The outcome, while extreme, is expected; the joint is trashed. But, there are a few subtle differences that make Project X watchable and, well, pretty fun at times. Firstly, the film is shot entirely through the lenses of handheld, personal cameras. Most of the time it’s a friend’s hi-def video recorder, while other scenes are shown through the fuzzy eyes of various smartphones. It’s an apt approach considering the target demographic for the movie. This is a generation that has grown up on YouTube and viral videos. Secondly, the main characters are actually believable. Most party films are filled with cartoonish stereotypes. Can you say, “Stifler”? But Project X, while riding the fence dangerously close on the edge of cliché, does serve up a crew of teens that, I believe, exist all over North America. Even the over-the-top, chauvinist pig, Costa, plays it just so, as to make it real. I know guys like him. Thomas is particularly sympathetic; a true-to-form average teen, eager to fit in, but trying to play it safe. And thirdly, this movie truly ups the ante on what trashing a house can entail. This is the part of the movie that was taken from the true news story in Australia, when a teenager had a bash at his home and the riot police got called in. Project X takes that crazy reality and puts an even more extreme Hollywood spin on it. That element definitely makes this party-film stand out from many of its predecessors.

While Project X isn’t refreshingly unique, it knows it’s not supposed to be. It’s obvious the filmmakers are aware that they are doing a raunchy, teen, party-flick that delivers the right stuff to today’s audience. Every project has a to-do list. Project X has your basic list: testosterone, hot chicks, drugs/alcohol, a parent-vacant house and the desire of nerds to be cool. Add to that, its own special list: web 2.0 marketing, ecstasy, crazy drug dealers, bad-ass midgets, riots and permissive parenting. With that formula, Project X makes for a relevant and rather entertaining party of the year.

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Craig the Critic

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