By Joe Walsh
Nima Nourizadeh’s debut film Project X is an irritating mess of gratuitous partying that alienates the audience from the first thirty seconds onwards. Gathering a few relatively unknown teenage actors, Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper and Jonathan Daniel Brown, it claims to be “the party you have only dreamed about” – if ever there were a case for the Trade Description Act this would be it.
Thomas is about to turn 17 so to celebrate his birthday his best friends, Costa and JB, decide to throw the party to end all parties in Thomas’ house whilst the folks are away. The night gets off to a slow start but then, from out of nowhere, thousands of people start to arrive and utter mayhem ensues.
The biggest problem with this tiresome film is that the gratuitous nudity and drug abuse has led to an 18 certificate, this means that those who would be interested in this type of movie, namely younger teens, will not be able to see it (at least legally). This is a massive problem as the humour – using the word in the loosest possible terms – is incredibly juvenile, being jam-packed with fat jokes, crude sex jokes and general inanity.
Anyone over 25 will be massively alienated by this film, feeling like the grumpy parent in the room. If the alienation problem wasn’t enough, the film’s immersive quality (achieved with the documentary style footage), actually makes you feel like the guy who missed the party and heard about it the next day. In other words, the only good thing about the film actually becomes a negative, once again pushing away the audience. Perhaps most irritating of all is the fact that 88 minutes is spent watching white, middle-class, suburban kids listen to hip-hop and trying to live it up like superstars.
The moral arc of this story is totally absent, inasmuch as the consequences of their actions are quickly glazed over with what looks like a slap on the wrists for causing thousands of pounds of damage and a block party riot. What exactly is this film hoping to say? Are we to believe some radical anarchic agenda; that we can do what we want in order to have a good time? Or is it, as the film seems to suggest, that the ends justify the means since these three immature reprobates will do anything to achieve popularity in high school.
It doesn’t help that the humour of the film falls flat on its face, and that it is totally devoid of any real plot. As previously mentioned, the only redeeming quality of this film is that it is very well shot, but it does break down when the Goth character, conducting the documentary footage of the film, manages to film underwater – that must be a very special digital camera.
Project X is nothing more than a gratuitous exploration of the worst examples of youth culture that will bore you out of your mind. With so few positive qualities it is best to be avoided at all costs.