The high school house party format has been repeated more often than that Adele song in recent times and while Project X has Todd Phillips’ unmistakably hilarious fingerprints all over it, there is nothing new here.
Yet the lack of originality seems rather irrelevant when the director has clearly focused all of his efforts on simply creating the most outrageous partaaay ever conceived for screen purposes. In that regard he achieves his goal with ease because the chaos that ensues after a brief introduction is epic. By the end of the film, riot police are charging, a news helicopter is circling, half the street has been reduced to ashes and some people are claiming that Kanye made an appearance. “I didn’t think you had it in you!!” says Thomas Cubb’s dad as he watches a truck pull his Mercedes out of the swimming pool the next morning.
As you might have guessed, Project X is more of an ‘experience’ than a film and Phillips employs a paint-by-numbers set-up in a bid to get to the action quickly. It’s Thomas’s 18th birthday, his parents (who privately think he’s a ‘loser’) are leaving town for the weekend and he’s planning a small get together. Unfortunately his crass jackass mate Costa has decided that there will be nothing ‘small’ about it, seeing the free-house as their chance to “change the game” and finally get some lady-action. They’re accompanied by their tubby friend JB and Dax, a mysterious lad who doesn’t drink but films the whole event.
The characters have simply been copy-pasted from a thousand other loser-gets-the-girl high school movies, but none of that matters because when the party actually starts, you realise what Phillips is trying to do. He doesn’t give a shit what you think of his hopelessly derivative characters, he’s simply going bigger, dumber and louder than everyone else. The ensuing chaos is like every out of control movie party you’ve ever seen rolled into one, on speed and with a dwarf in the oven.
The results are genuinely hilarious in places, if mind-meltingly implausible, despite the fact that the film goes absolutely nowhere. The ugliest girl at this gathering is probably twice as good-looking as the fittest girl to ever attend my sixth-form and by the end, the party has morphed into a cross between Creamfields and a Playboy Mansion party. And then the scorned drug-dealer turns up with a flame-thrower. For a brain-dead comedy, this does the job perfectly and does it to a fine – if embolism inducing – soundtrack, but if you’re looking for anything else, you’ll be disappointed.