By MICHAEL WALTERS
If it’s possible to enjoy a movie, but hate everything it stands for then that pretty much sums up my experience with “Project X.” As I’ve said before, I’m thoroughly over the whole found footage visual stylings, but they struck me as less egregious in this movie, partly because it has more conventional structure than it pretends to.
Thomas (Thomas Mann) is so shy and off the social radar at high school he’s practically invisible. So his cocky best friend Costa (Oliver Cooper), and obligatory fat nerd JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) plan a giant house party that will put them on the map and change their social status overnight.
When Thomas’ parents go away for the weekend, Costa floods social media with invites targeted at hot teen girls and cool guys looking to score an easy lay. He’s a would-be baller in a sweater vest daring you to underestimate him and achieving his goal through sheer loud mouthed persistence. He secures a couple DJ’s and two pint sized middle schoolers to act as security. But things begin to go downhill when Costa runs afoul of his vindictive and heavily armed drug dealer.
The film is shot under the guise of birthday home video, but Project X is really no different from the countless house party and nerd coming of age stories that have come before it. But it takes the spirt of those films, hops it up on Red Bull and ecstasy and watches with caffeinated glee as it soars over the top and then keeps on going in its wholehearted embrace of crude humor, bad taste.
It reminded me a little of the house party in producer Todd Phillips “Old School,” if Vince Vaughn and company had a little bit more of an appetite for destruction. As the party swells from dozens at the start to thousands, it breaks out into total mayhem with police in riot gear, houses in shambles, and enough burned out cars to fill a South Side junkyard.
I wouldn’t want to be any of these little punks’ parents, and they’re not an incredibly likeable bunch. But I can’t say the wholesale destruction they unearth isn’t fun to watch for a while. However, the movie is just as inconsequential as the party it depicts. And without really good funny characters, I couldn’t help wondering what’s the point?