Though it shares a title with a different ’80s Matthew Broderick vehicle, Project X yanks its uptight high-school hero straight out of Ferris Bueller’s posse. Here, Cameron clone Thomas (Thomas Mann) has to protect more than his dad’s luxury automobile; best buddy Costa (Oliver Cooper), who looks like Neal from Freaks and Geeks but talks like a witless Jonah Hill, has cajoled him into throwing an epic birthday bash while his parents are out of town. The resulting festivities nearly bring down the neighborhood. They also make local heroes out of these adolescent zeroes.
Alternately resembling an endless music video and a VICE magazine photo shoot, this fake-found-footage teenage romp has no shortage of boobs, beers, boners and contrived zaniness. (Piñata full of Ecstasy? Check. Ball-punching little person? Check.) What it lacks are characters who aren’t walking clichés. With these generic dorks at its center, the knockoff-Superbad plot feels like little more than filler between long montages of booze-fueled tomfoolery. Project X wants to be the party movie to end all party movies, but it’s so intent on rushing us from one crazy “highlight” to the next that it never captures the time-freezing bliss of an actual up-all-night blowout. At best, the film approximates the less-than-thrilling experience of hearing exaggerated stories about a party you weren’t invited to.