“Project X”: Drunk, Foul-Mouthed Nerds Seduce Hot Girls and Blow Stuff Up

"Project X" (2012).<a href="http://projectxmovie.warnerbros.com/site/index.html#photos,15">Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.</a>

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Project X
Warner Bros.
88 minutes

This weekend, you could go see the highly anticipated The Lorax, with all its Truffula tufts and fleecy anti-greed morality.

The new animated movie has a stout, gremlin-type creature talking how bad it is to screw over wildlife for profit. The CGI is truly eye-popping. And there are a whole lot of gyrating bears. So, yes, you should go see The Lorax. You absolutely should do that.

You totally, definitely should.

Or, you could succumb to 90 minutes’ worth of bi-curious girls, rowdy gentlemen, loud music, self-destruction in the suburbs, booze guzzled, pills popped, and cops in riot gear. (In short, all the things that make life worth living.)

The rager quickly descends into a hyper-violent mess that can only be described as a cross between 10-Cent Beer Night and a party thrown by The Who.

And just to be perfectly clear, this movie isn’t a remake of the other Project X, a 1987 film in which Helen Hunt and government-trained super-chimps almost trigger nuclear catastrophe. This year’s Project X is steeped in a far greater realism: Three chemically altered nerds throw a house party with 1,500 other horny teenagers and almost burn an entire neighborhood to the ground in the process.

The film, produced by director Todd Phillips of The Hangover and Old School fame, is shot in contemporary found-footage/mockumentary mode—think: cinéma vérité, by way of Cloverfield and Parks and Recreation. If you’ve seen Revenge of the Nerds, Risky Business, and Superbad, you’ll recognize the plot: Three high-school outcasts seek to up their social standing and prove to “bitches” that they are “large-scale ballers.” So when one of them gets the family home all to himself on his birthday, the boys invite half of LA to attend their all-night blow-out. After some mass-texting and old-fashioned word of mouth, they wind up with a carouse so epic—two DJs, a “Naked Girls Only” pool, a moonbounce, every harmful substance imaginable—that Kanye West is rumored to be in attendance.

And thus the evening bacchanalia descends into a hyper-violent mess that can only be described as a cross between 10-Cent Beer Night and your average party thrown by The Who.

Downton Abbey, this is not. The mockumentary wallows in a decidedly crass teen fantasy fueled by lust and the simple joys derived from rooting for the underdog. It’s vulgar. It’s sophomorically misogynistic. It sends all the wrong messages to young adults. And moviegoers have seen this all before. Yet you will appreciate the movie for the same reason you still go to laser-tag arenas to challenge small, defenseless children: Because the formula works.

The performances—from a cast comprised entirely of unknowns—feel oddly interchangeable, most likely due to the fact that every character in the film is a stock character. Thomas (played by Thomas Mann) is the gawky, drugged-up birthday boy who’s secretly in love with his long-time friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton, a prepossessing blonde who follows in the very recent footsteps of Amber Heard and Teresa Palmer). Costa (a sharp and vicious Oliver Cooper) is the proud Jew and awkward man-whore who sets the party in motion. JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) is a lamebrained, portly facsimile of McLovin. And Alexis (Alexis Knapp) shows up at the party as the ready-and-willing sex object/Queen Bee.

So is this movie 100 percent prepackaged? Is it weighed down by a thoroughly unoriginal mean streak? Of course. But there’s something admirable about how shameless and giddy Project X is at exploiting the irrepressible desire for law-flouting immaturity.

Project X gets a wide release on Friday March 2. Click here for local showtimes and tickets.

Click here for more movie features from Mother Jones.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate