Perhaps, as the saying goes, nothing succeeds like excess. And perhaps some teens just want to party and to be popular. But mixing the two doesn't make for a good movie, as shown in Project X, the latest movie shown from a handheld camera point of view.

Teen buddies Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper), and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) have always been losers at their Pasadena high school. But with Thomas turning 17 and his parents going away for the weekend, the wannabe gangster Costa has a plan: throw an epic house party to make them all popular and get them all laid! And the mostly-quiet schoolmate Dax (Dax Flame) will record it all. Thomas is nervous about getting in trouble and tries laying down some ground rules: no more than 50 people, no one in the house itself, only people he knows. But Costa's been inviting everyone at school -- plus online postings -- and soon the party has hundreds (thousands?) of people, with lots of booze, sex, drugs, and loud music. Perhaps using two 12-year-olds for security was a bad idea...
While there have been plenty of teen comedies about epic day, from Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Superbad, those movies had something Project X lacks: characters with some sort of appeal and personality. Instead of getting to know and like the stars, this movie revolves mostly around loud party music, lots of t&a (from innumerable shots of women bumping and grinding to the topless pool), and ever-escalating destruction. There's a small subplot about Thomas deciding between his cute longtime friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton) and the ultra-hot Alexis (Alexis Knapp), but for the most part it's a never-ending amount of Costa's profanity-filled trash talk and getting the perfect party on film -- apparently the same goal of director Nima Nourizadeh

While it's easy to criticize Project X for its irresponsibility (downing pills with beer, wanton destruction), that's forgivable if looked at in the context of creating the ultimate teen fantasy party. What's harder to overlook is that this movie is all surface, content to just make a bitchin' party video instead of a movie where we care at all about the main characters. There are some funny scenes here, but Project X never tries to be more than very immature humor about teens gone wild.

Overall grade: C

Reviewed by James Lynch

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