Project X: Risky Business for a New Generation
Peter Duell, Staff Writer
April 24, 2012
Filed under Opinion
Alcohol… ecstasy… sex… tasers… garden gnomes… flamethrowers… helicopters. The recent movie, Project X, hits each of these and more, all slammed into eighty eight minutes of partying mayhem.
This film, done through the perspective of a handy cam, documents an unbelievable, riotous California high school party. Philosophy teachers need only to show the trailer of this film to accurately portray hedonism. It is a true “celebration of bad behavior.”
Thomas, the host of the party, whose parents are out of town, is left with millions of dollars in damages to the Pasadena neighborhood, popularity and a ninety nine thesis of police charges. But what an incredible night. The former “loser,” as stated by his father, is promoted to the coolest, most loved student at his school, all in one night. Even the formerly rejected freshmen dance and drink their way to acceptance for a night. Thomas burns down his house, bankrupts his parents, allows his father’s $100,000 Mercedes to be driven into the pool and loses his girlfriend, but he had thrown the best party known to man.
The movie portrays profligacy on every level, and the youth love it.
With a film like Project X, the viewer cannot go in with any sense of moral obligation to anyone or anything – even Thomas’ dog is left painted, high and intoxicated… twice. When it comes down to it, there is nothing morally redeeming about Project X, but, wow, what a ride. Viewers are taken from locker rooms to a dilapidated Russian drug dealer’s home – from a fifty person get together to a thousand strong binge – from a debaucherous blowout to a conflagrous, riot police fighting mob.
Project X clearly markets an appealing message to the generalized high school, American student – a wild night where social cliques are dissolved, “losers” have a shot at the most popular and most gorgeous, and everyone is accepted, even the freshmen. But how realistic is this? Over fifteen hundred high schoolers with a moon bounce, two DJ’s, a midget, kegs of alcohol, more drugs than the Medellin cartel and a flame throwing drug dealer. There will always be high school parties with alcohol and drugs but never at the same level as Thomas’ birthday bash.
When it comes to theatrical elements, Project X hardly slips through door. With scarcely a plot, short but saturated character development and little to no resolve, it is hard pressed to categorize Project X as a real film. The characters are presented and aggressively race to establish their personalities in the initial twenty five minutes of film before the party begins.
Thomas is called a loser by his father, so he must be a loser with a frail personality. JB, the fat and oblivious of the four, fits his role just by appearance. Costa, the most outspoken of the group, knows the drug dealer, vainly speaks seduction to women and fears no authority, so he must be the extroverted funny man. Dax, the one behind the camera during the whole bout, doesn’t live with his parents despite being seventeen, so he’s the weird, shadowy figure of the four. And that’s it for the characters. The party soon takes over and consumes the rest of the movie.
Project X does have a plot line, however thin and diluted it may be. Thomas’ longtime friend, Kirby, contributes greatly to the story. In fact, she, and maybe one other character, makes up the entirety of the story. She was at the party before the popular and attractive even thought about it. She puts up with Thomas’ awkwardness and smiles all the way through it. Kirby genuinely likes Thomas, and Thomas likes her. Though he is quickly seduced and led astray by the femme fatale, Alexis, via making out, dancing, body shots, making out, removing of clothes and making out. Of course, Kirby walks in on Thomas in all his glory and, as of then, ends the friendship. Don’t worry, he makes a sappy apology and gets her back in the last sixty seconds of the film.
What a story.
But then again, who wants a story? Maybe high schoolers want to sit through eighty eight minutes of pure entertainment with a grin on their face and not have to worry about which level of which dream they’re in.
While the excessive indulgence should not be endorsed, that does not make it a pain to watch seeing as it starkly contrasts the monotonous day to day, weekend to weekend repetion that many high schoolers experience. That may be exactly what kids want – an experience – which is exactly what they get with Project X. It strays so far from the norm and tops even the craziest house parties that teens and young adults can’t help but submit to its appeal.
Project X breaks all the rules, and that cannot be ignored. There is more alcohol, drugs, sex, profanity, nudity and destruction than in any other film shown in normal theatres.
Though maddeningly entertaining, many people do not consider it appropriate to put such explicit content into movies and market it toward teens. And they’re right. Is this a movie to see with mom and dad? No. Should the youth that Project X markets towards see it? Probably not. The irony that makes Project X work is this: The glamorized hedonistic allure attracts teens to the film but also is the reason why they should not see it.