Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
March 1, 2012
*** (out of four)
Some people will see “Project X” and lament the state of America’s youth. The booze! The drugs! The boobs!
Almost everyone else will want to jump in a time machine set to their 18th birthday, and then jump into the screen. The party at the center of “Project X” isn’t just a party; it’s an experience. It will amuse, excite, sicken and exhaust you.
Hey, no one who wanted to be legendary played it safe. And “Project X” [bleeping] goes for it.
In this sloppy mess of proudly irresponsible behavior, Thomas (Thomas Mann) just wants to celebrate his 17th birthday with a few friends—50 tops. What his best pals Costa (Oliver Cooper) and JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) have in mind looks more like hundreds upon hundreds of high schoolers and recent grads—including “Footloose” co-star Miles Teller as himself—taking over residential Pasadena as if it were Snoop’s house, with all the liquor and narcotics and skin that implies. Thomas doesn’t want to trash his parents’ house, but consequences play little factor here. Social status and female attention is the goal, and the sheer quantity of debauchery makes “Superbad” look like a day at the beach.
“Project X” isn’t for everyone. And nobody should favor the use of homophobic slurs and jokes made at the expense of people with disabilities. Surely no one’s going to quote “Project X” to their parents or give a damn about the storyline, which separates female characters into “hot and friendly” and “hot sex object.” (Although the movie does feature one of the sexiest onscreen tequila shots in recent memory.)
I’d be lying if I said “Project X” didn’t feel honest in its excessive, unifying destruction as seniors let loose like there’s no tomorrow and envious younger kids work security as if they have a chance of keeping things under control. Grab your pimp cup, hold onto that zipline and be glad to say that you were there.
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