Live Review: Project X

16 March 2012 | 3:21 pm | Ian Barr

In the late '60s, the desperation of studio heads to reach out to the waning youth market was one of the key factors that resulted in the New Hollywood boom; the heyday of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Bonnie & Clyde, Easy Rider, et al. In 2012, a similar impulse results in Project X, a celebration of dickhead culture so obnoxious  it can be usefully used as a litmus test to discern the Worst People Ever. It's produced by party-cinema maestro Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School), written by various fratboy date-rapists and directed by The Simpsons' dog-with-attitude Poochie (the 'kung fu hippy from gangster city').

Sporting a meaningless title that serves as little more than a catchy marketing hook and the promise of T&A, the film at least has the decency to get the worst out of the way first. Adopting that annoying but economic found-footage gimmick (that the recent Chronicle so cleverly subverted), the film is nothing if not watchable in a braindead way, once the Superbad-via-vomitcam-without-funny setup is behind and the party – held by three nerds yearning for popularity – gets out of control. Granted, that's likely because the chances of onscreen douchebag-death have increased.

You could tune out and enjoy the playlist, but the litany of “faggots” that dominates the dialogue mostly drowns out the music. You could call Project X damaging, morally bankrupt, misogynistic, homophobic – but that's precisely the indignant reaction it courts, daring one to lambast it at the risk of being labelled a killjoy or a prude. In many ways, the film's a resounding success in what it sets out to achieve and has a purity that's almost trainwreck-fascinating. Nonetheless, it's objectively a piece of shit.

WHERE & WHEN: Screening in cinemas now