Reviews: Project X

Low-brow, morally repugnant tripe

I'm no Moral Guardian. I know that a comedy film centring around a student party is hardly the sort of film you'd expect to end with some uplifting, old-fashioned platitude. But my issue with Project X wasn't simply that it carelessly joked about things like alcoholism, drug abuse, teenage sex, and general thoughtless hedonism; it was that, beginning to end, it celebrated these things. And, moreover, it did so through a cast of uniformly unlikable or unrelatable characters; Thomas, who we're apparently supposed to think is a loser for such ridiculous things as obeying his parents and not dry-humping every girl within a hundred feet; JD, who we're supposed to jeer at for the unforgivable crime of being a virgin and somewhat overweight; and Costa, an utterly loathsome human being who we're apparently supposed to love for his self-adoring smugness and nauseating misogyny.

I'm most certainly not saying that every character of every film needs to be a flawless saint; I'm simply saying that, on some level, they should be likable, and their situation should be relatable, to those of us who don't celebrate total abandonment of personal responsibility. When a film concludes by cheering on a central character for destroying his own home and putting the lives of several hundred people in danger in the name of having a good time, I'd say it's failed at that.

Moving on, however: the film's Found Footage aspect was implemented with hideous clumsiness. It contributed nothing to the film itself, seemed quite implausible or unrealistic at times (Thomas, for instance, doesn't react to the camera's presence even slightly during the scene of his father calling him), and was generally clearly stretched to accomodate the needs of the film (case in point: the camera constantly cutting away from the Found Footage viewpoint to make impromptu music videos out of shots of the partygoers dancing). The jokes were, as one might expect, restricted to low-brow, predictable jibes about drugs and sex. The acting, I have to allow, was decent, even good at times - though, given how this generally only drove home how unlikable the characters were, it's debatable whether this was really a good thing.

All in all, if you're looking for some good comedy, or likable characters, or, generally, a film worth watching, I'd most certainly recommend looking somewhere else.