You'll usually find found footage in horror movies as its incredibly cheap to produce that way, but now and again one film will break the mold and do something quite inventive such as the movie "Chronicle" and whilst "Project Almanac" isn't nearly as entertaining as that movie, it's not a bad time.
David Raskin, is searching his house for a project that will help get him into college, he discovers that his father had been working on a time machine, hidden in the basement, before he passed away. He and his three friends find the 'heart' of the machine and various blue-prints, through an overly long montage they finally build the machine and use it to their great advantage, to pass tests, to one up some bullies and to have the time of their lives. It's a bit unbelievable at first, but if you let that go, you may have some fun with the adolescent behavior that ensues. The characters are classic stereotypes of teens, but it never really distracted from the film as the simple story never required characters will a lot of depth.
"Project Almanac" doesn't have much to offer in terms of story, character or innovation but it's fun at times. The found footage style actually worked well for this film, it brought you closer to the characters and the action.
The movie has a lot of fun in its first half, watching the teens improve their lives drastically by travelling in time to win the lottery, go to a music festival between classes etc is great fun, and its relatable, because what teen isn't going to use time travel for their own personal gain.
After toying with the time machine, David and his friends discover that they're acts are having major implications on the world around them. David takes it into his own hands to alter the timeline, but is actually making things worse. This is where the film becomes messy, the time travel mechanics and actual logic of the film become scrambled. The film attempts to become more complex and thought provoking, but it feels underdeveloped, so by the final ten minutes, you probably won't even care what's happening.
Time travel is a very difficult thing to pull off, filmmakers have tried and failed with the concept and unfortunately this is one of the weaker films in the genre. First time director Dean Israelite makes a good attempt but gets lost in his own films logic, ultimately creating a scrambled mess that has its fair share of good moments but goes on for a little too long and provides little in terms of creativity.
The five leads are good and have chemistry with one another, and the relationships kind of make sense, but by the final act you'll find it hard to really care about what happens to them.