Thursday, June 21, 2012

DVDebut: PROJECT X deserves a look-see from any audience appreciating anarchy

Disappearing far too fast from the typically mainstream, sound-bitten, and afraid-to-encounter-something-different radar, the R-rated teen movie, PROJECT X, proves surprising fun. imbued as it is with a spirit of genuine anarchy that one seldom encounters in a Hollywood film. Granted, the very audience that could have made the movie a huge hit (and it would have been, had that audience been allowed in to view it), was kept away due to the film's "R" rating. Now, of course this a good thing, since, along the way in the film's fast-moving 88 minutes that provide the high-school party to end all high-school parties, a puppy dog is man-handled badly, partygoers ingest Extasy like it was candy, nudity (upper body, at least) is de rigeuer, and a house is consumed by fire. Don't try this at home (as the movie tells us, via warning label, right off the bat).

My point, however, is that while, yes, this is crazy, and we should all be ashamed of ourselves for enjoying it, these goings-on are extremely funny and grow only more so as the movie progresses and as the anarchy breaks free of that leash that a PG-13 rating would surely have provided. Director Nima Nourizadeh finds just the right tone for it all, while writers Michael Bacall and Matt Drake provide plenty of incident coupled to irony and wit so that we chuckle when we're not outright guffawing. Their best idea was to provide the character of the "cameraman" (whom we don't see but who proves an most intriguing guy, just the same) and the two pre-teen security guards. Hilarious. The three leads (plus our hero's girl) are all cast well and deliver the goods performance-wise -- with Thomas Mann (shown above, right -- but no relation to his namesake, I take it?) the standout as the nerdy but "purdy" (as those Hillbillies would say) hero.

OK: This is not a cinema classic, but as teenage "party" movies go, it's up there with the best (Can't Hardly Wait and only a few others). And for sheer anarchy, it way beats out something like The Hangover and its sequel. And while it does indeed go all mushy at movie's end, its good-guy hero, at least, can bear that mush -- unlike say, the character in The Hangover played by Bradley Cooper, who wants to leave a little baby in the same apartment with a loose Bengal Tiger, but whom we then have to get all gooey about at the finale. Oh, yes -- and the movie makes the best use of a little person (above, the wonderful Martin Klebba) than anything I've viewed since I last saw Peter Dinklage.

Project X is available now on Blu-ray and DVD, for sale or rental.

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