‘Project X’ Stands as Testament to Generation Y

Project X -- Dir. Nima Nourizadah (Warner Bros. Pictures) -- 4 Stars

“There’s a midget trapped in the oven!” a partygoer screams over the din of hundreds of partying teenagers.

“What are they saying?” the party’s host yells out.

“I don’t know. All I heard was midget and oven,” his friend responds.

“Project X,” the newest tribute to the drugs, alcohol, sex, loud music, and promiscuous dancing of unruly youth life lifts all normal party behavior to an unbelievable extreme. However, the fresh, uncensored portrayal of high school shenanigans, including the green cast and documentary-style filming, creates an enjoyable film geared towards Generation Y.

Set in suburban California, the film employs a faux-documentary style that follows Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper), and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), three friends who feel invisible in their school’s hierarchy. Costa and JB decide to throw Thomas a birthday party that is “big enough to be cool” thus gaining the admiration of their peers. Thomas’ parents leave for the weekend, and Costa, his gregarious Queens-born friend, spreads the word via Craigslist, the radio, Facebook, and Twitter. He publicizes the party with “unlimited high school girls” so effectively that thousands of drunk and crazy people descend into Thomas’ family-friendly neighborhood.

Cinematographically, the set of the party looks amazingly out of control.If only people in high school have parties as outrageous as Thomas, Costa, and JB, the need for these types of escapist movies would be nil. The movie tries to channel a sort of Playboy Mansion vibe—topless girls in the pool, aforementioned midget Verne Troyer, a gnome stuffed with Ecstasy, and a DJ pumping a sick soundtrack. Granted, the size of the party is somewhat unbelievable. However, the majority of the movie is enjoyable and fun because it seems so genuine, a feeling created by the documentary aspect of the cinematography as well as the cast.

Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, and Jonathan Daniel Brown used their real names in the movie, and Brown was actually cast through an online audition process. All brand-new to Hollywood, they maintain their not-yet-jaded demeanors during the filming. They are able to play high-schoolers because they attended real high schools, instead of being tutored on sets. They all have great chemistry between them, and thus, their friendship doesn’t seem forced. Due to the fact that there are no headlining actors or big names—besides the producer, Todd Phillips, who directed “The Hangover”—the movie’s ambiance is solely based on the ridiculous scenario as a “celebration of bad behavior.”

Moreover, unlike other movies based in high school, there aren’t unbelievably witty people who speak as adults in children’s bodies—think the characters of “Cruel Intentions”—or generalized cheerleaders or nerds. The people in the movie talk and dance like people in high schools across the country and thus provide a seemingly uncensored picture of America. They swear, talk about “finger banging,” strategize about how to seduce a girl by “telling her how pretty she is,” grind to music, and play flip cup. Despite the sometimes juvenile nature of the film’s content, it did not seem as if it was trying to aim for anything more than its goal: a somewhat journalistic account of an unusual event.

There are really no bounds in the dialogue or storyline, for that matter. In that way, the party ultimately unwinds from believable-but-insane rager to an unreal catastrophe. Riot police and a crazy drug dealer wielding a flamethrower are involved, and it the plot unraveled into an absurd scenario. However, although this craziness mars the aforementioned ‘honest’ feeling, at least a sort of moral message is upheld with the party-throwers suffering the consequences. College funds are spent on rebuilding houses and Thomas was brought up on six charges, but he is a legend at his high school. The epic party is still a night to remember for the young protagonists. So even though the appreciated realistic qualities of the film are squandered by the end of the movie, it was refreshing to see the repercussions, unlike wondering what happened to the tattoo on Stu’s face after “The Hangover II.”

“Project X” is a movie strictly for Generation Y. Baby boomers might not appreciate the visions of suburban homes up in flames all due to an irresponsible party, but young adults might appreciate the relatively realistic and impressive rager, if only vicariously. Although the movie suffers from a bout of unbelievability, it is still a good depiction of our generation’s culture.

—Staff writer Charlotte M. Kreger can be reached at charlottekreger@college.harvard.edu.

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