Destined for cult status, primarily as a midnight movie, Nourizadeh’s follow up to Project X is a mash-up of stoner comedy, ultra violent graphic novel adaptation and love story for generation z. Mauled by critics the film has its charms largely in the charismatic performances of the two leads, the energetic directorial stylistics of Nourizadeh and the smart, sharp, funny script from Max Landis.
Jessie Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart previously seen in the underrated Adventureland, team up as Mike and Phoebe, two lovebirds stuck in a nowhere town unable to escape. This is the kind of empty dirtwater place with one cash and carry, a strip club, a police station and a bail bonds office. Mike our hero, is experiencing panic attacks and a recent trip to Hawai is thwarted by his inability to step on a plane, resigned to the foetal position in the airport toilet. Back at CIA headquarters a plan to terminate sleeper agents is being executed by the over achieving Agent Adrian Yates (Grace), much to the fury of his onetime superior Agent Lassiter (Britton). To prevent Mike from being terminated she intentionally reactivates the stoner convenience store worker, transforming him into a stone cold killer. A team of twenty hired assassins are dispatched to the town and the film shifts into action mode, as Mike now inbued with the reflexes of Jason Bourne and James Bond starts disposing of the assassins with a bloody precision.
Nourizadeh has cast an odd assortment of actors, who embrace the macabre comic darkness of the material. Eisenberg and Stewart have a great chemistry together, comic and tender, he progresses from a passive victim of his own neurosis, to an unpredictable powerhouse, capable of ruthless brutal violence. Eisenberg expertly modulates the twists and turns in his character, without losing his character’s charming innocence in the process. Stewart continues to prove her continued versatility, demonstrating the Twilight phenomena was only one aspect of her diverse talents.
The film has bombed at the box-office, but don’t let that stop you from seeing one of the more refreshing films of 2015.