Project X is director Nima Nourizadeh’s debut effort and was brought to screens by producer Todd Philips, best known as director of The Hangover. The comedy follows three high school students as they attempt to gain popularity among their peers through hosting the ‘’party you’ve only dreamed about’’ in central character Thomas’ house while his parents are away. However, this plan soon falls through as the house descends into chaos and things grow more out of control throughout the night.
First of all, Project X is an enjoyable film; there are several genuinely funny moments and it boasts an excellent soundtrack of carefully selected electro house party music designed to make you feel as though you are experiencing the party itself, which combined with the shaky handheld camera succeeds in this method. There are clearly appealing factors and on the surface Project X is a perfectly good comedy film, worthy of anything we’ve seen so far this year, yet it suffers from an inherently distracting and vital flaw; Project X is a carbon cut copy of Judd Apatow’s 2007 classic high school comedy Superbad.
Let’s examine the plotlines of both films for a moment to test the accuracy of this statement; Superbad follows three high school students who attempt to gain popularity among their peers by going to a huge party and getting drunk girls to sleep with them. Check.
How about the characters? Well there's Thomas, our main character, an all round average guy with a sensible attitude and sensitive touch who's only looking to party in order to finally get the girl of his dreams. Then best friend Costa, the loud jackass friend who abuses and bullies Thomas into hosting the party and attempts to charm every woman in site, oblivious to his outrageous behaviour. And finally JB, the stereotypical nerd who provides cheap laughs for the audience through his combination of unwittingly amusing outbursts and terrible dancing. Sound familiar? Well that's because I've just described Evan, Seth and the beloved Fogell (a.k.a McLovin).
There are even replacements for the idiot cop duo of Seth Rogen and Bill Hader in the form of two underage and underweight bouncers who attempt to control the increasingly crazy shenanigans of the party folk to no avail.
Ultimately, the main strength of Project X is the sheer realism the cinema goer will experience of the party, and there are also solid performances from the male leads, in particular Oliver Cooper's portrayal of loudmouth Costa which makes for some hilarious encounters, but it remains a mystery that nobody turned to Nourizadeh or Philips in the production stage to let them know they were creating a blatant rip off of a film not even 5 years old.