Friday, March 2, 2012

Movie Reaction: Project X

Formula: Superbad + Cloverfield



Cast:
Ably enough acted, given the structure of the movie. I can't be too harsh on anyone because no one is saying they are high caliber actors. The fact that half the cast plays characters using their real name should be a clue. And, they all play people I would never want to talk to in real life (which applies to most people anyways).
The star of the movie though, is the party. It's almost a shame they spend so much time on any character, because it's really about the rise and fall of Sodom itself.

Plot:
What? You want one of those? Pssshaw! Pretty standard. You've seen Superbad, right? Same thing except Evan throws the party, add a riot, and no character is redeemable at any point in the movie. Seriously, they are all awful people. I was hoping the movie end with the party. We see it reach it's absolute most chaotic point and ends, the main character saying something like "worth it" and the camera goes to black. There is no way to like the fallout from the party. These people all deserve to go to jail. Lives are ruined. The parents are bankrupted. Relationships are ruin forever. An ending forces everything to be alright, which is too Hollywood, even for me. 

Style:
This is the only reason to see the movie, so I might as well address it. The found-footage style is absolutely the best way to shoot this. It is the only way to achieve the epic feel of the party (and it is definitely epic). My only quibble about this is that the format does stop working when every character seems too have an HD, feature film capable camera that's also water proof and apparently never runs out of space. For me, I like the found-footage format when it embraces it's limitations (see "Paranormal Activity" or "Cloverfield"), but I was aware 10 minutes in that this movie was never meant for me, in that regard.

The Elephant in the Room
The similarities between this and one of my favorite comedies of all time, Superbad, are undeniable. In fact, I think that was most of the ad campaign, and hell, that's why I saw this. I really wanted to like this, because I thought if it captured even a fraction of the charm of Superbad, it would be worth it. Turns out, a better comparison would be one of the American Pie movies. No, not that one. Not even this one. Even that one they tried on. Perhaps this one. Yeah, that works.
Superbad built characters that were fully formed and sympathetic. You had a feel for why they are friends and, more importantly, protagonists. Project X doesn't bother with any of that, which is a shame, considering it keeps asking the audience to react as if we care about them.

To Sum Things Up
There are people this movie will speak to. I saw no reason to listen. What it did right was too outweighed by what it didn't.

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