Project X

Project X

Mark Pittman

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hr. 34 min.

With a mere five people in attendance during a recent screening of “Project X,” it should’ve sent up a red flare signal as fair warning that the film about to be shown is an utter piece of cinematic garbage.

Maybe heeding the MPAA’s warning, the most severe in recent memory, could have prompted a ticket exchange before the lights dimmed. “The film has been rated R by the MPAA for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem — all involving teens.”

Director Nima Nourizadeh manages to extract every funny antic from the underage testosterone/estrogen-laced high school movie catalog and subsequently turns “Project X” into a repulsive film that takes tasteless to levels that should NEVER adorn a theater marquee.

On the surface, the purport of “Project X” is to depict a modernized spin on the played out ‘my parents are gone for the weekend so let’s have a P-A-R-T-Y’ storyline. The only new-and-improved twist is the use of the first-person found footage look — normally arrogated for horror films. Dax (Dax Flame) operates the camera but his face is only seen twice via mirror reflection.

“Project X” is the story of three nondescript high school friends: Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown). The film’s premise is throwing a house party to celebrate Thomas’ 17th birthday. Little by little, bad decision by youth-borne mistake, the party gets out of control — shifting from celebratory to riotous.

Until hosting a party attracting 1,500–2,000 mostly underage partiers, the most dangerous things Thomas had ever done was turn in an incomplete calculus assignment and stay up past his bedtime on a school night.

Costa is supposed to be a streetwise kid from Queens, but in reality he’s a spineless wannabe operating his own agenda — mainly manipulating Thomas to behave in ways he never would without coercion.  J.B., the token fat kid, goes along with anything Costa concocts — including stealing from a drug dealer.

Screenwriters Matt Drake and Michael Bacall penned “Project X” and are seemingly proud of their accomplishment. “The idea from the outset was to create the gnarliest high school party of all time,” Bacall explains.

After Drake mastered formatting the screenplay for found footage, his character development skills fell to a low never before seen in filmmaking. “The challenges became more technical, like ‘what kind(s) of bodily fluids do we want to see?’”

The screenwriters’ most memorable line of dialogue is “There’s a midget in the oven!” An uninvited height-challenged partygoer was forced inside the kitchen oven after breaking a chicken egg over a bystander’s head. Afterwards, he goes on a violent testicular-punching revenge escapade.

What could have been the defining movie for this generation’s teen angst turns into an absolute waste from the ridiculous opening scene to the faux “Where are they now?” stills during the credits. In short,“Project X” is nothing more than a putrid adulteration of every coming-of-age high school movie made.