Project-X opens with a brief but telling disclaimer:
"The events portrayed in this film are fictional, and all stunts were performed by actors in a controlled environment. No one should attempt to re-create or re-enact any of the scenes, stunts or general activities portrayed in the film."
In other words, though a lot of the drunken acts may look cool in this film to younger, impressionable eyes, don't be stupid enough to try them at home. If only there were a warning for older viewers as well.
The movie, which debuted this week on Blu-ray and DVD, is built around an out-of-control house party in Los Angeles that climaxes with police in riot gear, a crazed drug dealer with a flamethrower, and enough neighborhood destruction to look like a war zone. And at the end of the movie, as the three high school dorks who threw the party reflect on their epic night of debauchery and its tremendous legal and financial costs, they wonder if it all was worth it.
Project X, of course, suggests that it was, and that this massive high school orgy of excess -- drugs, alcohol, and sex -- made these nobodies legends. The take-home message: fame, at any cost, is worth it.
Todd Phillips, the director of The Hangover movies, produced the movie, and Nima Nourizadeh makes his directorial debut. The film stars three unknowns: Oliver Cooper (Costa), Thomas Mann (Thomas), and Jonathan Daniel Brown (JB). It's Toledo-born Sylvania High School graduate Cooper as the obnoxious party instigator and barely tolerable loudmouth who makes the biggest impression. Cooper has an undeniable screen presence and effectively carries the film's anything-for-a-laugh banner. He shows screen potential.
But this was at best an hour's worth of material, and at 90 minutes Project X is blatantly padded. Nourizadeh stretches the film's run time with gratuitous images of scantily clad girls who are supposed to be in high school, making the low-angle shots of writhing dancers creepy to anyone old enough to legally buy beer.
Project-X knows its demographics. This raunchy comedy with some undeniably funny moments takes the escalating war among R-rated comedies of "Can you top this?" and goes nuclear with a stream of wild exploits and drunken stunts sure to attract teens and 20-somethings. The rest of us will just shrug our shoulders, watch Animal House for the hundredth time, and remember our high school and college days as being as wild as we think they were.
Project X: SRP: $35.99, Blu-ray, $28.99 DVD.