We've seen this premise countless times. Three horny, geeky teenagers, throw a party to ingratiate themselves with the cool kids and score with the popular girls. The parents are away. They have the car. They have a little booze. They have a little weed. What can possibly go wrong? It's the standard teenage comedy right? Not this time fellow moviegoers, we actually have a breakout great film. Director Nima Nourizadeh's Project X is literally and figuratively a riot. I can't remember the last time I laughed as hard, or was genuinely suprised by a comedy. Clever, brilliantly shot, and dropdown funny, Project X delivers the raunchy goods in spades.
Thomas Mann stars as Thomas. His birthday coincides with his parents anniversary. They leave the house in his hands for the weekend, because they have no worry. Thomas is a nerd, not cool, even his father thinks he's a loser. But Thomas has three friends that are hellbent on throwing him the greatest party ever. There's Costa (Oliver Cooper), the foul-mouthed best friend. JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), the shy and chubby tag along. And finally there's Dax (Dax Flame). We hardly see Dax, because he's behind the camera filming the entire time. Doc*menting the activities leading up to the impossibly epic party.
The removal of the fourth wall has been a popular gimmick recently. This is where the characters talk and interact directly with the camera/audience. No one will ever match the John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, in this regard. But Nima Nourizadeh gets an extra gold star for creativity by doing this so seamlessly. As the party gets wilder, we get other views of the action from the ancillary characters who have what every teenager has these days - cell phones and flip cams. Nourizadeh and his editor, Jeff Groth, skillfully build up tension and realism with these different camera shots. It makes Project X very engrossing and entertaining.
The primary actors play characters that have their names. This is not to say they are playing themselves, but it does create an atmosphere of familiarity in the ensemble. Casting is critical in any film, but doubly so here where the three teens are followed around in a natural environment. Nourizadeh scores again by creating an improv-friendly shoot, where the actors can bolster the script. This is key to what makes Project X so funny. There's good chemistry between the leads and it gets markedly better as the party spirals out of control.
Project X is loaded with vulgarity. There's scene after scene with teens drinking, doing drugs, and having sex. It embraces its audience and does not shy away from profanity. A lot of teenage comedies are similar, but it comes off being forced and staged. Project X does not. It's like a snowball rolling downhill, getting bigger, and badder, until it wipes out everything and leaves a path of destruction in its wake. In other words, a must see.