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Review: Project Vile

It’s Thomas’s (Thomas Mann) birthday today. His parents are going out of town for the weekend in light of their anniversary. He’s been given the privilege of staying home alone for the next few days, without parental guidance, oversight from relatives or family acquaintances.

He has two nebbish friends, Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown), fixated on throwing a reckless high school party tonight. The objective these three senior geeks have is to be considered “cool” by their classmates, defy laws, and possibly get lucky with an attractive (preferably intoxicated) female.
Project X – through a documentary style of filmmaking – is the chronicling of the most “epic party” … ever. It’s the type of bash every high school student wishes he or she could attend.
So, how bizarre is this junction?

Lets see. We have droves of varying alcohol, naked women (both high school and college), conspicuous folks from Craig’s list, an older father who thinks he’s still in high school, a midget, marijuana, cars in pools, a drug dealer with a flame thrower, two child security guards and an abundance of profanity.
And yet – albeit every ridiculous element this film is constructed with – Project X is a long and unfunny winding road to nowhere.

Thomas is a rather likable protagonist, but he’s laced with two buffoons for friends. Costa is the type of babbling, cruel intentioned idiot everyone despises. JB is in the film because of his weight. There isn’t a ten minutes stretch without a joke directed towards JB’s tubby stature.

The kiceer here is our producer: Todd Phillips. Known for his work on The Hangover franchise, Old School, and Due Date, the director/producer has created for himself a niche in the world of irreverent cinema.

Perhaps Project X can serve a reminder that the studio behind the film has little effect on the quality of the final product. The same studio that put out Casablanca, also released Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Now, I suppose you can make a correlation between Bogart and fluffy animals, but it’s tough.
Point being, while The Hangover was a powerhouse comedy and Old School was forgettable fun, Project X is a disposable, unexciting, grossly manipulative wreck.

Is that the message our culture wants to send out? I suspect not.

I’ve seen few films in my life that had a message as bluntly incorrect and offensive as Nima Nourizadhe’s directorial debut. “Hey, if you disobey your parents, degrade society, women, humanity, and hurt others, friends will swarm your way.”

For those who think I may be overanalyzing the film too much, let me state that this is not because I have a certain disdain for high school grounded mantras. Superbad is one of the best comedies of the past decade, and contains – through high school experiences – authenticity and pure laughter. It’s a much better version of Project X, and contains nearly the same plotline. All three characters in the former film want to have sexual relations with a girl – but while attempting to do so, a greater bond of friendship ignites them all.

Still, Project X is not an atrocious film because it projects a vile message or because it contains an entirely unrealistic plot. It’s a heap of self-congratulatory, shoddily produced trash because it fails to be humorous. Even at a measly 88 minute run time, the film scarcely elicits anything that could be considered comedy or, you know, cinematic enjoyment.

I will say though, I didn’t believe it was possible for a film to be more flaccid than the girls our three protagonists lust after. What a grandstanding achievement.

1 out of 4 stars

You may read everything I write at Duke & The Movies and follow me on twitter @SamFragoso

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