My first response to Project X was positive. It met the expectations set by previews and was thoroughly entertaining. During spring break’s suspension of the work and worries of college, I felt justified and satisfied in watching the crazed party.
My response changed after I read about a party, inspired by Project X, in which a boy was shot in the head. Project X provided the inspiration for some idiot teenagers in Houston who had a vacant house and a computer to follow in the footsteps of the orchestrator of the Project X party by inviting as many people as possible. In Project X, everyone leaves magically unscathed despite kids jumping off roofs and a man wielding a flamethrower around dozens of parked cars. In the party in which a boy was killed, the equivalent to the crazed drug dealer who shows up and ends the party with a flamethrower actually killed someone. Although it’s hard to evaluate the movie’s actual impact, I think Project X may have catalyzed not just the inspiration to throw the party, but also deluded the party throwers and the attendees into thinking nothing could go wrong.
This is not to say that Project X ignores the consequences of the party. Thomas, the main character, is punished and faces some sentences. His dad also says his college fund is gone and forces Thomas to drive the minivan Thomas wrecks.
But at the end, the optimistic music, the applause and popularity Thomas gets from throwing the party, and the kiss he gets from his dream girl suggest a pay-off for throwing this reckless party. I had a positive reaction at first because the movie is supposed to suspend reality, and the idea of a happy ending is, in some ways, no more ridiculous than the party that occurred in the movie; it’s all part of the same fictionalized story.
But the tragedy that occurred in the Houston party left me with mixed feelings and serious misgivings about the content of the movie.