Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review: Project X

As I sit at the keyboard, I have officially published thirty-nine movie reviews on this blog.  When I finish this write up about producer Todd PhillipsProject X, that number will remain at thirty-nine, because what I watched today can only in the loosest sense be referred to as something that vaguely resembles a film.  Full disclaimer – I am not in the target demographic for Project X.  This much is obvious.  The question I want to ask is, what are the target psychographics they considered when they hatched this idea?  Because although it’s been a while since I rocked a J. Crew anorak around Andover, I find it hard to believe that the seventeen year-old version of me would have found this entertaining.

Here is a quick synopsis of what exactly transpires onscreen.  Three unpopular guys want to be popular so they throw a “game-changing” party in North Pasadena that rages out of control.  Texts, drinking, drugs, sex, and anarchy ensue until a man with a flame-thrower shows up to retrieve a garden gnome. Lucky for us (insert dripping sarcasm), they decide to record everything that happens.  Voila!  A found footage film is born.

This continues a disturbing trend in Hollywood where studios distribute these faux found footage films because they are cheap to make and/or cheap to acquire.  The increased popularity of this genre is not unlike what we witnessed ten years ago on TV when Survivor opened the floodgates that led to a glut of ridiculous reality television shows (i.e. Temptation Island, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire).  Networks kept pumping these out (and still do) because they could be produced at a fraction of the cost of a scripted series.  But in the end, you always get what you pay for - a lesson that obviously has not been learned.

So what we get in Project X is a “movie” with no plot.  The mere act of writing a synopsis (as I did two paragraphs ago) is giving it far too much credit as a narrative.  The film is nothing more than a collection of visuals cut and edited in way to celebrate the brand of misguided teen angst that exists in today’s society.  But no slick soundtrack or grotesque sensationalism can mask the simple fact that Project X is ninety minutes of visual and audio noise.  As for the cast, the most I can say is that there is one – comprised of a bunch of D, E, and F-level faces that are vaguely familiar, but none of which should receive acting credits for appearing in the project.

I don’t think I need to spell out at this point whether or not I am going to recommend Project X.  I think I let the cat out of the bag pretty clearly in the preceding paragraphs.  I’ll just close this out with a riddle.  What do you call it when a lot of things happen, but when you add them all up, they amount to nothing?  I call that Project-X.  (ba-DUM-Tsssh!)

Standout Performance: The Garden Gnome.
Interesting Attached Trailer: Neighborhood WatchVince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, and Jonah Hill join forces in this film that promises to be either comedic genius or epically bad.