Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper
Directed by Nima Nourizadeh
Most teen flicks just fake being fueled by anarchy. But the gut-bustingly funny Project X is the real deal. It's raunchy, reckless and ready to party. What's not to like? Unless you're one of those stickers for form and content. Then go watch this year's Oscar nominees. Project X is an unholy mess that reaches down to the age-irrelevant drive in all of us to just get shitfaced and run amok, in this case with the help of booze, pot, Ecstasy, a bevy of hot bitches, a crotch-punching midget and a flamethrower. The Pasadena house party at the center of this free-for-all is being thrown by Thomas Kub (a most excellent Thomas Mann) a loser of a high school senior desperate to be cool and de-virginized on his 17th birthday. It's the oldest story in the teen playbook, and screenwriters Matt Drake and Michael Bacall don't fix what's not broken. Goaded on by his buds Costa (Oliver Cooper), J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) and Dax (Dax Flame), Thomas goes rogue and throws a bash when his trusting parents leave the nest for a weekend. Things quickly pass freakout when the invites go viral and 50 guests swell to 1500. And we see it all through the woozy lens of Dax's digicam, which doesn't miss a topless boob or a stunt that might land a Mercedes in a swimming pool. Project X is a shitfaced Paranormal Activity. As filmmaking, it's a disaster. As a party movie that puts its own spin on what Animal House started, it's just the movie Snooki can show to her kids. No moralizing allowed. Music video director Nima Nourizadeh makes his feature debut with Project X. But the defining sensibility behind the film is clearly producer Todd Phillips, best known for his two Hangover films, but given props in these parts as far back as 2000's Road Trip. The movie has all the heft of a tweet, but Philips has made it look pimp and, until the police end the party, Project X really is a riot.