Just so we're clear, there was only one "Risky Business" and there was only one "Animal House" - accept no substitutes!


Nima Nourizadeh's "Project X" ventures into the land of been there/done that and offers nothing new. It even has the nerve to aim at the "Superbad" crowd. Again, not in the ballpark. But it does have it's merits.


With a cast full of talent with nothing to lose, "Project X" once again revisits the suburban (Pasadena CA) teenage house party. Yes, another coming of age film! This time Thomas (Thomas Mann) is turning seventeen on the weekend his parent are leaving to celebrate their anniversary. They live in a sprawling house with a swimming pool, zip line and Mercedes Benz.

His parents entrust him with the minivan and insist that he keep any kind of party to a small affair of his three or four friends. However, his best friend Costa (Oliver Cooper) has other plans.


Costa is a transplant; He hails from New York where he was - as he claims - king! Getting laid all the time, etc. Now he's hanging out with the outcast nerds. So he feels duty bound to move the nerds up on the food chain by throwing a great party.


Naturally there is a target girl - the schools most popular, and their close but ignored friend Kirby (Kirby Bliss Blanton) who quietly has the hots for Thomas.


Using mobile technology, Costa flash broadcasts that Thomas is having the greatest party that Pasadena will ever see and that everyone is invited. Apparently this works and sure enough every teenager in Pasadena shows up at Thomas' house ready to party. And the do.


What happens next is really nothing new, only a lot more destructive and unbelievable. Only one neighbor complains, the police are totally inept, and somehow the $40 that Thomas' dad gave him was enough to buy everything needed to support 1500 people.


There is dog abuse that should have been funny but wasn't. There is the drug dealer encounter (as in "Risky Business") that should have been funny... and it wasn't. There were any number of unoriginal gags that should have been funnier... and yet they weren't.


What was funny were the two kids Costa brought on as Security: Tyler (Nick Nervies) and Everett (Brady Hender). They were hilarious. In fact they were funny enough to elevate "Project X" from the gutter. These are two puny boys who are taking their security duty seriously, no matter how much the fail. They were the equivalent of McLovin in "Superbad"... sort of.


This was Nourizadeh first film directing and in an effort to prove he didn't understand when to say when. An admission by Costa that "things have gone too far and there's nothing I can do to fix this..." says a lot about the storyline


"Project X" is targeting the "Superbad" market but with less talent, an over-zealous director, a poor script, and lines we've heard far too many times.   -- GEOFF BURTON