When movies are successful, future movies try to ride off the coattails of the movies before them. They often do this by getting one key name and attaching it to their movies to make people go see it. We’ve all seen this trick and it’s blatantly obvious. The movie District 9 was produced by Peter Jackson, the writer and director of the Lord of the Rings series. District 9 took advantage of Peter’s Jackson’s name and threw it in the trailer and on the DVD cover. Neill Blomkamp wrote and directed District 9, but who wants to see a film written and directed by Neill Blomkamp. When you say Peter Jackson presents a film by Neill Blomkamp, District 9 all of a sudden becomes interesting.
The same happened with the movie, 9. Tim Burton produced 9, but Shane Acker actually wrote and directed it. I don’t like Burton, but a lot of people do. Because of this, Burton’s name is the first that pops up in the trailer and it’s the first to appear on the DVD cover.
Project X took the same approach attaching Todd Phillips, director of Old School and The Hangover, to the film. Phillips produced Project X. Nima Nourizadeh directed it. Once again, the trailer centers on Phillips producing the film, but the hype doesn’t stop there. The trailer quotes people saying, “Like Superbad on crack.” and “Greatest party movie ever.” So now looking at this trailer, I have The Hangover, Old School and Superbad, three of the most popular comedies of the past decade, combined with the expectation of the greatest party movie ever. This claim now brings the classic party film Animal House into the picture.
So the trailer pretty much claimed that Project X would be better than The Hangover, Old School, Superbad and Animal House combined. With that kind of hype, Project X screwed itself.
It’s Thomas Cub’s birthday and his parents are leaving the house because the date also marks their anniversary. This gives Cub and his two other friends, Costa and JB, an opportunity to throw the greatest party in the history of mankind. They take that opportunity and host the greatest party ever. That’s the 87-minute movie in about 10 seconds.
The fact that this movie could be summed up in 10 seconds accentuates the non-spectacular nature of the film. Everything that happens in it has been seen in other movies. Here are some examples:
1. Cub has a crush on this great girl, Kirby, but ends up having sex with a more attractive girl. Kirby catches them in the act and leaves the party. Cub chases after her, but nothing is resolved and she still leaves the party. At the end of the film, Cub and Kirby resolve their issues and make out.
2. All the party guests stumble on some ecstasy.
3. Everybody gets really drunk.
4. There’s a constant conflict of emotions inside the main character, Cub, of “My life is over, we need to end this party.” and “This is the greatest night of my life.”
5. All the girls are really attractive and horny.
6. There are unattractive guys trying to have sex with attractive girls.
7. A lot of crazy things happen and the destruction keeps getting worse.
I could go on, but I think I made my point. Nothing in the film made really laugh. I laughed, but I never died laughing. I don’t know what was supposed to be so different about this film to separate it from the movies to which it compared itself. The party was so big that they almost burned an entire block to the ground. So what? That alone really isn’t funny. It had moments, but it ultimately underwhelmed. Also, a lot of the funniest parts happened during the previews.
The biggest problem with not only Project X, but also other comedies of the past few years is that they’re trying to be as funny as The Hangover. Project X faltered because it literally tried to be The Hangover. You can’t be The Hangover that movie was already made. Even The Hangover II failed to be The Hangover.
The other thing I couldn’t get over was that Cub throws away his entire life for one night and everybody thinks that’s awesome. So in order to be cool you have to destroy your parents’ house leaving your parents bankrupt while simultaneously throwing away your dreams as well? Hmm…
THE BOTTOM LINE: Project X is not The Hangover. It is a waste of time. The people who liked this film probably enjoyed it because they wanted to be there. So instead of seeing Project X, go to a party and bring ecstasy, a flamethrower and the get out of jail free card from Monopoly.
I’ll give Project X 1.5 out of 5 cups.
As of March 14, Project X made a domestic total of approximately $43 million versus an unknown production budget, according to Box Office Mojo.
To see the movie trailer for Project X, click here.