REVIEW: Project X

26 11 2012

2012 will likely go down in the history books as the year when filmmakers really experimented with just how far they could stretch the found footage format.  With “Project X,” director Nima Nourizadeh and producer Todd Phillips decided to give it a go with the party film genre, essentially giving the reckless destruction of “The Hangover” a slight “Risky Business” twist.  And making sure everyone with a red Solo cup is decidedly below the legal drinking age.

To a small extent, the experiment worked.  I still think all these films should adhere to the “Paranormal Activity” and “Cloverfield” model of restricting the point-of-view to the first person, only allowing us to view the events through that single camera lens.  It just feels like a bit of a cop-out when the film cuts to other cameras.  If you are going to exploit this hip new format, adhere to some simple rules.

Even at a mercifully short 88 minutes, the film feels too long.  Some of the hijinks of the party are entertaining, but the shots of scantily clad hotties get old quickly.  It also doesn’t help that the characters that actually have real development are largely unsympathetic to the point where you kind of want them to get in trouble.  (Well, I’ll give “Project X” that I did feel for Thomas, the lanky, dorky good-hearted protagonist – but mainly because I found quite a bit of myself in him.)

You start rooting for more destruction of property rather than cringe at the thought if this scenario playing out in your high school days.  It’s like how you secretly were rooting for the Joker in “The Dark Knight” because you wanted to see what kind of trouble he would cause next.  But such unfettered desires, which the filmmakers accurately predicted, lead the party’s shenanigans to quickly move from the improbable to the implausible to downright absurd.  (That hasn’t stopped several teens from dying and getting arrested in an attempt to imitate them though … yikes).  Their focus is to just get crazier and crazier, and they achieve it.  However, it comes at the expense of laughter, which is scarce in “Project X.”  C

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