Review: 'Project X' unapologetic in its raunch, hilarity

Costa (Oliver Cooper), left, Thomas (Thomas Mann) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) are stunned by the success of their party in "Project X."

Photo by Beth Dubber, ©2012 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Costa (Oliver Cooper), left, Thomas (Thomas Mann) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) are stunned by the success of their party in "Project X."

Three high school seniors attempt to make a name for themselves by throwing one unforgettable house party. As word spread, the party takes on a ...

Rating: R for crude and sexual content throughout, nudity, drugs, drinking, pervasive language, reckless behavior and mayhem - all involving teens

Length: 88 minutes

Released: March 2, 2012 Nationwide

Cast: Jonathan Daniel Brown, Miles Teller, Alexis Knapp, Thomas Mann, Martin Klebba

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Writer: Matt Drake

More info and showtimes »

The classic teens-gone-wild movies — from "Risky Business" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" back in the '80s to the more recent "Superbad" — featured audacious situations, memorable dialogue and endings that gave a nod to society's conventions.

"Project X" doesn't nod. It doesn't even wink. And time probably won't turn it into a classic.

But for sheer, in-your-face raunchy realism and politically incorrect hilarity, "Project X" will not be topped anytime soon.

Sex, drugs, alcohol and rock 'n' roll (and hip-hop and techno) are served with exuberance and without apology. Talk about burnin' your playhouse down — let's just say, what happens in North Pasadena doesn't stay in North Pasadena.

It all starts with three friends: mild-mannered Thomas Kub (Thomas Mann), brash Costa (Oliver Cooper) and rotund JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown). Today is Thomas' 17th birthday, and to celebrate, his parents (Peter Mackenzie, Caitlin Dulany) are going out of town (it's also their wedding anniversary).

His folks are apprehensive about leaving their son alone, but since Thomas doesn't have many friends and he's kind of a "loser," they don't expect that he'll get into much trouble.

They obviously don't know Costa. A transplant from Queens, N.Y., Costa likes to think big, or at least talk big. When it comes to Thomas' birthday party, he's thinking epic. He starts by having a schoolmate, Dax (Dax Flame), film the details of the day.

Thomas protests every time Costa makes a move that will grow the party, but he doesn't put his foot down — except on the accelerator of his new vehicle when the crazed drug dealer who sold them pot, T-Rick (Rick Shapiro), comes after the trio.

The party is slow getting started, but once it starts popping, Thomas and the understaffed security team have their hands full trying to safeguard the house, the dog and the neighbors' good humor. Costa and JB try to get their hands full of lady parts, while Thomas finds himself drawn to both childhood friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton) and teen siren Alexis (Alexis Knapp).

A dog takes flight with the help of some party-goers and balloons in the new comedy "Project X."

Photo by Beth Dubber

A dog takes flight with the help of some party-goers and balloons in the new comedy "Project X."

"Project X" is a party film that makes viewers feel as if they're at the party. The screen events are visceral, and while the depiction of women sets the movement back 40 years, it feels authentic for this generation.

The film's main weakness is that the actors — all chosen for their lack of name recognition — have so little personality. They're merely types. Mann resembles Alan Ruck's character in "Ferris Bueller," with a twinge more spunk.

Cooper calls to mind Curtis Armstrong in "Risky Business," while Brown's girth makes the obvious Jonah Hill-"Superbad" connection, talent aside. Mann is mildly likable, Cooper irritating and Brown forgettable.

There's nothing in the script by Matt Drake and Michael Bacall to distinguish the cast members. Director Nima Nourizadeh focuses on style — handheld "you are there" cinematography — and excess to make the film work.

Sweaty intensity, a great soundtrack and a take-that! denouement do the rest. "Project X" will send parents screaming as the target demographic screams with laughter.

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Comments » 1

volhome#407234 writes:

Considering I was forced to sit through the previews throughout the Christmas season for every movie we saw, I will be glad to step out and say that this looks like one of the sickest movies of our times. We have celebrated hedonism plenty of times before, but the downright openmindness that is being shown to teen debauchery on this movie makes me long for the good old days of Risky Business. Personally I would not be saddenned to see this movie be the biggest flop of all times. Unfortunately America will likely pander to this pile of sleaze and make it #1 at the box office. At least I can say 'Not with my money, you don't".

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