Tony's Take

NERVE review

Nerve posterAre You a Watcher or a Player?

In today’s society, technology has completely taken-over.  Just look at the latest social-game that’s taken the World by storm, Pokémon Go for example.  “Nerve” attempts to capitalize on our youth’s obsession with social media interaction; a new game that’s gone viral allows players to earn money as they complete dares from anonymous strangers, who represent the second option: watchers.  Vee is a high school senior ready for graduation, but, in her life, she never takes risks (as made clear by her friends) and is completely satisfied with settling for a nearby university.  However, one night she decides to shock everyone (and herself) by joining Nerve as a player.  Here she meets-up with another player, Ian, and the two must team-up to complete their various dares.  As the dares become more challenging, the money earned increases.  However, Vee thinks things have gone too far and she breaks one of the 3 rules; the consequences of which being completely unknown to her.  The rest of the film follows Vee and Ian’s partnership as they have to work-together to win.

Emma Roberts stars as the film’s lead, Venus or Vee.  Dave Franco plays the player she is forced to team-up with, Ian.  Emily Meade plays Vee’s best friend and highly-watched player, Sydney.  Miles Heizer is another one of Vee’s closest friends, Tommy.  Kimiko Glenn and Marc John Jefferies play two other friends, Liv and Wes.  Juliette Lewis plays Vee’s mother, Nancy.  Machine Gun Kelly (aka Colson Baker) plays another intense player in the game, Ty.  Brain Marc plays a classmate of Vee’s, J.P.  Ed Squires plays another classmate named Chuck.  Samira Wiley plays a hacker friend of Tommy’s, Hacker Kween.

“Nerve” uses today’s reliance on social media and combines it with a vicious game of truth or dare (minus the truth) and manages to produce an entertaining, though over-the-top and predictable, outcome.  As Roberts and Franco portray the two leads, their chemistry on-screen is important.  They work-well together and bounce off each other effortlessly.  Even with its completely unrealistic plot, “Nerve” is a self-portrait of the horrendous uses we see on a daily basis in social media.  The film’s message is loud-and-clear and it couldn’t come at a better time in our society.  “Nerve” also keeps you entertained throughout its many dares, ranging from kissing a stranger for 5 seconds to riding a motorcycle as 60mph while blindfolded.  The dares are thrilling and are incredibly fun to watch, but I’m sure you can figure out where the film’s going.  Unfortunately for “Nerve”, this is another case of marketing giving away too much of a film; as many of the film’s dares have already been given-away in the trailers and TV spots.  While “Nerve” manages to entertain you, its lack of plot leads to many “filler” shots just trying to fill the film’s run time.  And when it’s not filler shots, the events of the film are too often predictable.  “Nerve” has a run time of 96 minutes and drags a bit throughout due to its small story-size.  On one hand, “Nerve” probably would have succeeded with a deeper story, but on the other hand, maybe we should all be glad that it’s at least entertaining.

“Nerve” follows two players as they attempt to complete dares and earn money.  The film has a few laughs, pulse-racing dares, and a mostly-predictable but entertaining story.  If you’re going to the movies this weekend, think twice before seeing “Nerve”!!    

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NERVE is rated PG-13 for thematic material involving dangerous and risky behavior, some sexual content, language, drug content, drinking and nudity-all involving teens, in theaters JULY 27TH!

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