In case you aren’t aware, Todd Philips is the comic mastermind behind such modern classics as Road Trip, The Hangover, Due Date, and The Hangover II. I’m as surprised as you are that I’m only being half sarcastic. But where previously Philips gave credence to the semblance of storytelling and vague, broad, and uneven character development, he’s now lent his name to a movie that wears its rawer appeals on its beer stained sleeve.
Project X looks to be another one of those “found footage” indies that tries to capitalize on the easy cheapness of faux documentary narratives without doing much more than just being found footage of one teen’s best/worst night of his life. Following the course of one high school misfit’s attempt to become popular with a party to end all parties, the trailer starts off seeming to be a dark confessional before offering its only punchline (in what appears to be a movie advertising itself s a teen comedy) by cutting directly to a rambunctious “celebration” of teenage debauchery. It then transfers almost as jarringly into the party becoming a literal riot, with a hint of the ramifications of that dark turn.
It really isn’t as interesting or effective as it might sound:
I’m not sure how someone can take the premise of Girls Gone Wild meets American Pie meets Cloverfield and make it look that grossly meh, but evidence of it being possible is plain for all to see. Even as it seems to distill the American Dream down to its core of seeing pretty young people engage in naughty acts that it publicly flogs, Project X is trying so hard as to simply being a turn-off. Plus, there’s that whole moral ambiguity of depicting underage sex for almost purely salacious reasons. But considering how Todd Philips normally makes his money, it was probably just a matter of time.