Project X was a surprise of the year, a raunchy teen comedy that took advantage of a budget-trimming found-footage gimmick and was successful enough at the box office to warrant a sequel. Fans of Superbad, American Pie and The Hangover will find common ground with Project X, but the film goes even farther than any of them dared. So how can you enjoy the world’s most insane party without risking jail time and millions of dollars in property damage? Pick up Project X on Blu-ray so you can watch the madness from the comfort of your couch. Hit the jump for my review of director Nima Nourizadeh’s Project X on Blu-ray.
For this review, I checked out the extended cut of Project X on Blu-ray. We’ll talk about the special features and technical specs in a minute, but let’s start off with a review of the movie itself. Our own Bill Graham has a nice review up for the theatrical release of Project X which gives a nice overview and grade for the film, but I’ll try to highlight aspects of what makes this movie worth owning on Blu-ray.
Project X comes in at just under 90 minutes and is broken fairly evenly into three acts. The premise is simple: high school student, Thomas (Thomas Mann) is about to turn 17 and his parents are conveniently going out of town for an anniversary. So Thomas’s best friends, the obnoxious Costa (Oliver Cooper) and the weird JB (Jonathan Daniel Brown) decide to throw the biggest, most ridiculous birthday party at Thomas’s house. Simple right? Well, what Project X lacks in character development, it makes up for with masterful escalation. The first act of the film sees the teens planning the party which increases from a moderate gathering of fifty or so friends to a massive neighborhood-devouring blowout when popular high schooler turned collegiate athlete Miles Teller (Miles Teller) invites people through his extensive network. Other than a bizarre incident with a neighborhood drug dealer, the first act is relatively slow and predictable.
The second act brings on the party, with the expected scenes of teenagers going wild around the pool and throughout the house. There’s plenty of nudity and drunkenness to be found, both of which factor into the plot later on in the film. What character development there is here exists between Thomas and his long-time friend, Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton), who may be turning into more of a love interest. However, that possibility is threatened when popular girl, Alexis (Alexis Knapp) begins to take a shine to Thomas, who is now the center of attention amidst the chaos. Speaking of the chaos, let’s get back to it.
At one point, Thomas gives into the vibe of the party and commits to the mutually assured destruction of his house and his sobriety. The film devolves into musical sequences of drinking, drugs, sex and idiotic stunts by the high schoolers, all “captured” with handheld devices common to the found footage genre. The redeeming factor of Project X is that the insanity really ratchets up in the third act and the house simply can’t contain it all. The party spills into the neighbors’ yards and onto the street, consuming the peaceful suburban setting to the point that the local Pasadena cops just let it literally burn itself out. I won’t ruin the scenes of the party itself since that’s the most enjoyable part of the movie, but there’s much more to it than what you’ve seen in the trailer and commercials. The ending wraps up in a weak and predictable way that almost ruins all of the fun and insanity of the previous hour and a half, but manages to just squeak by without getting too schmaltzy.
So is Project X worth a pick-up on Blu-ray? Well, it comes with a DVD and a digital copy as a bonus, which lets you take the party with you wherever you go. As far as effects go, there aren’t many to be found, but the stunt sequences and teen party scenes sure are fun to watch in beautiful hi-def. It’s the sound that really stands out on the Blu-ray, especially if you have a decent setup. Featuring remixes of current popular tracks by artists like Shiny Toy Guns, Kid Cudi and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the soundtrack of Project X is as much a character as the actors themselves. If you missed the theatrical release, it’s definitely worth at least a rent to check it out. If you liked it in the theater, you’ll love it at home.
And if you didn’t get enough of a party with Project X (or didn’t attend one of the real-life parties the movie inspired shortly after its release), screenwriter Michael Bacall (who co-wrote the original with Matt Drake) is already scripting a sequel. Keep an eye out for news on Project Y and check out the Project X Blu-ray special features and tech specs below:
- Damage Control: One insane house party: friggin’ priceless. Cost to refurbish said home after one night of epic partying: astronomical! Grab pen and paper as you’ll be our on the spot insurance adjuster, tallying up all the insane damages and devastation.
- The Pasadena Three: Get the low down on the three newbies on the scene as they share their hysterical time shooting their first film. Holding nothing back we get a glimpse at their casting tapes and their off screen antics.
- Ground Zero: Party Central: From actual flame throwers, to roof surfing stunts, to well orchestrated mayhem, witness some serious off the hook action and get the inside story on how a sleepy suburban California neighborhood was transformed into party central!