Todd Miller | Collegio Writer
It didn’t take the film community long to release the worst film of 2012. I didn’t have high hopes for “Project X,” but it still managed to be disappointing.
Quite simply, the movie is about high school students Thomas (Thomas Mann), Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. (Jonathan Daniel Brown) who want to celebrate Thomas’ birthday with a big party. The party, and everything leading up to it, is recorded in a documentary-like fashion through the camera of AV-student Dax (Dax Flame), who is rarely seen in the movie since he’s always behind the camera.
The group makes many efforts to raise awareness of the party, and their wish is granted when several people show up. However, the party quickly gets out of hand as more and more people arrive.
And that’s the entire film. The movie takes what would usually be a 20-minute scene and turns it into an 84-minute film. As a scene, there are no issues with this type of setup, but it gets old and tiresome as a full-length movie. They try to make all kinds of weird things happen in the movie, but the majority of the film sits on a plateau of boring redundancy. I didn’t feel like something was happening until the actual climax of the story. Everything up to that point felt like filler, repeating itself.
I was surprised to learn that the film is supposed to be a comedy, seeing how I laughed maybe once or twice. The climax of the movie was genuinely funny. I knew the event was going to happen, but the way they took it was so over-the-top that I liked it. Everything else felt immature and boorish. The character Costa, for example, didn’t take long to get on my nerves and the other characters only encouraged him. If it weren’t for the nudity, alcohol and drugs, I’d say this was a film made to humor high school students. Even then, I’m not entirely sure it wasn’t.
The directors went with a cinéma vérité technique: the use of camerawork where the camera and cameraman are part of the movie. This technique was also used in “Cloverfield,” but unlike “Cloverfield,” I wasn’t able to get past “Project X’s” fourth wall. I clearly felt as if I was being dragged around by the camera and it was clear I was watching a movie. The quality felt lacking for a professionally produced movie, and the entire movie was “square” and didn’t make use of the whole theater screen. It felt more like I was watching a series of party-related videos on YouTube. The filmmakers have said that parts of the film were recorded using cell phone cameras and it shows. Some films can make the cinéma vérité work, but combined with the immaturity of the rest of the movie, “Project X” simply falls short. As professional filmmakers, I don’t think they should be setting their sights on looking like a big YouTube video. It’s like expecting a gourmet meal and getting fast food.
I would not recommend seeing “Project X.” Check out “The Lorax” instead. It was released the same weekend and even without seeing it I feel as though the Dr. Seuss movie would offer much more than “Project X” could give.