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"Project X": Empty Hedonism for High-Schoolers 

Wednesday, Mar 7 2012
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"There's a midget in the oven!" is about as inspired as the dialogue and set pieces get in this queasy-making entertainment about a 17-year-old dude's birthday bacchanalia. Produced by The Hangover's Todd Phillips, Project X repackages that franchise's skull-numbing hedonism without consequences and second-nature misogyny for the SAT-taking set, while reassuring young men that there's no more ennobling purpose than to "get high, fuck bitches." His parents out of town for the weekend, Thomas (Thomas Mann), a meek, overlooked senior at his Pasadena high school, tries to improve his popularity by hosting a blowout — an event aggressively publicized by his Queens-transplant friend Costa (Oliver Cooper, strongly resembling a junior Brett Ratner and accurately described by one partygoer as "that dick in a sweater-vest"). While the rager — presented as the spliced "documentary" footage of a friend with a camera and hundreds of mobile devices — spirals into chaos (a car at the bottom of the pool, gobbled-up ecstasy), plenty of teenage titties are bared, a helpful reminder to adolescent girls that they can grow up to be actresses in Hollywood comedies. When an avenging pot dealer shows up with a flamethrower, the wish is only for these little fuckers to be set ablaze.

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Melissa Anderson

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