Most overused party clichés in movies

All the essential ingredients to a classic party movie

With Todd Phillips' teen party extravaganza 'Project X' out this week, we thought we'd call time on cinema's most overused party clichés. We're going to do the lot in one go. Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!

The police will get involved

This one's a guarantee: if you're throwing a kick-ass mixer for your schoolmates in a movie, enjoy it while you can, because the fuzz will be round to break it up any minute now. Why? We'll go ahead and assume there are no actual crimes being committed anywhere else in the city. It's typical: in movies, simply opening a bottle of beer results in a full-blown police investigation; in real life, however, you can't even get the bloke from Environmental Services to come round and make your weird neighbour turn down his hardcore Belgian trance at four in the morning.

As seen in:
'10 Things I Hate About You', 'American Pie'

I can hear the sirens coming... American Pie (Credit: REX)

Parties will only be thrown when parents are out of town

Hosting a party requires several things: booze, babes, bangin' tunes and, most importantly, a cast-iron guarantee that your folks are as far away from the house as geographically possible. You may think this gives you a licence to party with a capital P, but beware: most parents almost always return home from their vacation a day early, despite the huge inconvenience and extra costs this incurs. Just watch them turn up during your go on the beer bong and listen for the record scratch on their entry (even though the DJ is using an iPod).

As seen in: 'House Party', 'Weird Science'

[Related video: 'Project X' trailer]

There will be one extremely valuable asset ruined

So you're sure that mum and dad are out of town for the weekend? Feel free to let the party begin, but pay heed to your father's final words before he left: "Buddy, we want you to have fun, but whatever you do, don't touch the [extremely valuable and/or precariously placed item we really should have put in storage]". It might be a priceless Ming vase, it might be a sports car, it might be your great aunt's ashes – it doesn't matter. If you're throwing a shindig with this item still on the premises, at least one person nobody invited will wee in it, crash it or try and snort it off the coffee table.

As seen in:
'Mean Girls', 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'

More people than you can possibly imagine will show up

Relax – it's rare that your worst party fear will come true. Everyone you invited has turned up, and they're having a good time. In fact, there are a few people here you didn't invite! Cool! Word must be spreading that this is the place to be tonight! Wow... are there even this many kids at school? People are spilling out onto the front lawn. Kids are packed into your living room like sweaty, hormonal sardines. Oh no – why are people jumping on your dad's car? Who ARE all these people? You did set the Facebook invite to 'private', didn't you? Great. Now there's vomit in your kitchen sink and a dwarf in your oven.

As seen in: 'Project X', '10 Things I Hate About You'

Party up in here!... Project X (Credit: REX)

The stage is set for a nerd to reveal he's actually cool

This is the reason you threw this bash in the first place, right? To show the popular jocks that you know how to have a good time, and to show the popular girls you're just as much fun as the jocks. How you achieve this social switcheroo is up to you. It might be via a keg stand, beer bong or downing a yard of alcohol while witless bozos cheer on your liver failure. If you're lucky, you'll get the chance to prove your awesomeness by walking in on the school bully getting a little too fresh with his gal, giving you the opportunity to sock him in the jaw, take off your glasses and complete your transformation from geek to chic.

As seen in:
'Superbad', 'Back To The Future'

At one point, something awful must be consumed

It's not enough to pour eight gallons of light beer down your neck – if your party is really going to go off with a bang, someone will need to consume a bodily fluid (and preferably not die as a result). Firstly, select your preening douchebag – he'll be the one leering at girls and pantsing the nerds. Next, choose your poison. Urine works well as a beer substitute (after a few red cups of the stuff, it all tastes the same), but also be aware that party snacks can be stuffed full of whatever horrible goop you desire. Donut? Don't mind if I – OH GOD.

As seen in: 'American Pie', 'Van Wilder: Party Liaison'

Sex will happen, probably in your parents' bed

You planned for this. You've been waiting for the whole semester for a chance to party with your crush, and now thanks to alcohol – sweet, wonderful alcohol – you've finally got your chance to get intimate. Barging into your parents' bedroom – the ONE place they told you not to go! – and dislodging the couple who were already dry-humping under the coats, you and your lady love lay together and... wait, you can't do this. She's drunk. It wouldn't be right. So, you do what any self-respecting gentlemen would do, and tuck her in for a good night's sleep. Congratulations – this act of valour means she is now your girlfriend!

As seen in: 'Can't Hardly Wait', 'Risky Business', 'Superbad'

Superbed... Superbad (Credit: REX)

The host will learn something about themselves before the night is through

You might wake up the morning after your party with a raging hangover, but hopefully you'll have learned some important life lessons amongst all the mayhem. Perhaps you bade farewell to an important friendship; it's likely that you'll learn the importance of responsibility; you never know, you might even take a step back and realise the fragility of youth. Or maybe you just realised that the girl you really love isn't the bitchy cheerleader with big boobs, but her bookish but equally attractive best friend. Either way, you'll party the night away as a boy, but will wake up a man. A man who's covered in sick, but a man all the same.

As seen in: 'Dazed & Confused', 'American Pie 2'