So many Friday nights can blur from one day into the other. Nothing particularly special sets any one weekend a part from the next. There are particular moments in a party night that are notable but a bottle of vodka can make the entire night easily forgettable. As with any sugary, overpriced mixed drink at your local dive bar, Project X fails to satisfy any missing desires for hedonism. Mix three seemingly meek middle-American, caucasian teens and the desire to become popular and you'll likely create a cookie-cutter movie recalling a forgotten night of drinking. The Hangover, Old School, Superbad, all cover brief moments of excessive alcohol or drugs and the inevitable lamentation of the decision to drink or party excessively. Like any other Friday night for the atypical male aged 17 to 25, it's rare when one particular night stands out. Yet the desire to create the perfect night of misbehavior still burns. When it does, the heavens open and you do anything to recreate the moment. Project X captures this moment perfectly and nearly sets itself a part from all it's familiar cousins.
What the Project X movie delivers (that many other party movies fail to remember) is that it understands why it exists. Somewhere, deep down, we all want to do something wrong and admit that we enjoyed doing it. So many movies begin with the bleak protagonist forcing his entry into the "popular" crowd among their peers. The awkward trio in Superbad are willing to do whatever's necessary to become known and score one night stands with their longterm crushes but they realize (just in time) that friendship overrules all. What lesson do we learn from movies like this? That the willingness to give into obsession is bad? That we ultimately learn the value of homosocial friendship and things always turn out for the best? A noble, disney-esque lesson for our parents. Project X takes the hedonism to it's proper level and admits, 'Yes! We do horrible things because it makes us feel good!' The trio ultimately pays for their actions but they appreciate the singular moment when they accept that their means justifies their end. Project X doesn't play us to be fools. We're all fully aware that every action causes consequences. Sometimes we just don't care what those consequences are. This film acknowledges our little evils and doesn't excuse that 'things will just be fine' when the smoke clears.
There isn't anything necessarily filling in this Project X movie, but it does attempt to remind us of the reason why we go to lengths to enjoy ourselves. To simply enjoy them. It's hard to imagine one spending a night of drinking and ignoring the fact that there may be a hangover. Hangovers happen. The chase to create the best night possible or the mission to simply live life free from responsibility is the reason why so many of us risk the hangover the next night; the possibility of waking in a stranger's bed or in the middle of the cow farm with only your boxers.