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ELIZABETH LOPEZ' REVIEW
RATING: B-/C+

The film is one big party scene, and for sure it most likely is not a parent’s idea of a party for teens, no matter how cool they think they were in high school or try to be now. If there are parents or soon to be parents viewing this film, they may nearly go into an anxiety attack thinking what their offspring may be up to some day.

Matt Drake and Michael Bacall wrote the screenplay for ‘Project X’ about the same story well known to many about young male teens who want to make a name for themselves; be cool, find chicks, drugs and throw a party while the adults are gone. This was filmed in Los Angeles, but the setting in the film is in the Pasadena area in a very nice neighborhood. It seems to be a knock off of ‘The Hangover’ except it is minors involved.

Thomas (Thomas Mann) is turning 17 on his parent’s anniversary. Dad (Peter Mackenzie) and Mom (Caitlin Dulany) are leaving to celebrate for the weekend. His best friends, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), help host the birthday party at Thomas’ home. The parents should have known or remembered the old “while the cat is away” saying but, Dad does not think highly of his son’s skills to pull off anything major while they are gone. A red flag would have been the arrival of a young man dressed in black, Dax (Dax Flame), who walks in with a video camera, filming nonstop, but the parents let it go.

Thomas wants something small and manageable and ends up agreeing to 50 people tops, but Costa has other plans. There are booze, braless gals, Ecstacy, and Dee Jays with loud sound systems that are still not loud enough for the revelers, gnomes, little people and sex. An out of control party is a very mild way to describe this. Word has spread far and wide about the party and many characters show up. There is an older guy (Pete Gardner) drinking away that no one seems to know and an angry Little Person (Martin Klebba). An innocent birthday party it is not.

The Motion Picture Rating (MPAA) is Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem - all involving teens.

Does the trio make a name for themselves? Dare if you will to spend money for the 88 minute comedy to find out. I certainly would pass on paying to see what has been on screen many times before, but I know that the target audience is likely rushing to the theater on opening weekend.


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MARK SALDANA'S REVIEW
RATING: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

The whole “found footage” movie phenomenon really has grown tiresome to me. Honestly, why are filmmakers attempting to “fool” their audiences? Most dedicated movie buffs know better by now. This false and deceptive gimmick of faux-guerilla filmmaking has already left me flat. Now, I must admit I have not seen CHRONICLE, which I hear utilizes this gimmick well and with excellent results. Regardless of how I will ultimately feel about that “exception”, I really wish this whole failed attempt at creating a new genre would just die already. In fact, the latest entry of this kind, PROJECT X, does not really benefit at all from this annoying novelty. The film takes every teen party movie cliché and repackages it as a home video without really bringing anything dynamically new or fresh to the story. In fact, for a movie which tries very hard to come across as real, the filmmakers take their film to outlandish and absurd proportions in the climax.

Apparently, loosely based on a real house party which took place in Australia, PROJECT X tells a very, very tall tale of a high school party gone awry. To celebrate his birthday, Thomas (Thomas Mann) and his buddies Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) want to throw a huge party which will make them legends at their high school. The trio succeeds and gets much more than they expected when thousands of people show to the party, disturb the peace of the neighborhood, and cause tremendous dollar amounts of property damage.

That synopsis probably seems way too short, but really, that is all there is to say about the story and plot without spoiling too much. All “found footage” complaints aside, director Nima Nourizadeh and his crew do some fine work here making this fictional tale feel realistic in its look and presentation. Nourizadeh captures the entire movie on hand held camcorders and camera phones which actually left me a tad nauseous by the end. I think I needed to look away occasionally and ended up feeling a little motion sickness because of the constantly moving and shaking camera work. The script by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall offers some genuinely funny lines and comedic scenarios, but decides to go off the deep end with a subplot involving an angry and crazed drug dealer who sets the night on fire so to speak. I feel that the filmmakers really jump the shark with this insane climax which I felt lowered the movie to an even greater level of stupidity. For filmmakers who probably pride themselves in making this picture feel realistic, the story has a couple of ludicrous moments which frankly insulted my intelligence. Then again this movie probably is not intended as an intellectual piece, but as a guilty pleasure celebrating debauchery.

I will give some kudos to the cast who really pull off their characters well and seem to have improvisational and timing skills. Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, and particularly, Jonathan Daniel Brown work wonderfully together and credibly as high school buddies trying desperately to change their statuses from zeros to heroes. I also really enjoyed the scenes with Brady Hender and Nick Nervies as Everett and Tyler, the pre-teen party bouncers. These guys are crazy funny and super talented. I wanted to see them in more scenes.

Following the screening, I discussed the movie with some colleagues who are parents, one of whom has a teenage daughter. He certainly watched the wild and crazy teen hedonism on the screen with overwhelming fright. He stated that he will not allow her to see this movie. The movie does earn its R-rating with consistently strong language, teenage drug and alcohol abuse, nudity, and sexual situations. It certainly does not set a fine example for our youth today. So, parents should proceed with much caution. I can’t honestly recommend spending money to see this film in the theater. It does have some entertainment value, but a value not high enough for the price of a movie ticket. It simply is another teen party rehash; repackaged using an overplayed gimmick I wish would pass like most tacky fads do.


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