Get ready for an adrenaline-fueled ride to absurdity.
Emma Roberts stars as Vee – a quiet, shy high school senior looking for some way to escape her boring, depressing life. Meanwhile, her more extroverted pal, Sydney (Emily Meade), has been attempting to become an internet star while playing a game called Nerve.
In Nerve, you either become a watcher or you become a player who must complete a series of dares to win enormous amounts of money and viewers.
After a horrible embarrassment, Vee decides to become a player to show everyone she’s just as daring (and stupid) as everyone else. Soon, Vee becomes matched up with Ian (Dave Franco) for the craziest night of her life.
Can Vee and Ian make it all the way to the end?
What’s Ian’s deal anyway?
Can Vee handle it when the game becomes more sinister and dangerous?
Somewhere Larry David should be contemplating a lawsuit against writer Jessica Sharzer.
Remember the great Seinfeld episode The Chinese Restaurant? The one where the guys dare Elaine to eat an egg roll off someone else’s plate? That’s the entire premise of Nerve, just with more outrageous dares, a bigger budget and much better looking people.
Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman are very well suited to capturing moments and scenes, but the story isn’t there. Sure, we are shocked and amazed as people are dared to walk across ladders positioned many floors above the alley of two buildings or we chuckle as Ian and Vee have to perform some silly tasks like getting a tattoo or singing in a restaurant, but this is not enough to make Nerve into a solid movie.
We love the tension and fear as each stunt is conducted with the hair on the back of our necks standing on edge, but Nerve only scratches the surface of getting deeper. It’s the equivalent of a horror movie that only has shocks and no real horror.
The movie also serves as some sort of wish fulfillment for younger people who think the ultimate high is to act inappropriately, as if this rebellion against society and its rules gives you greater soul. Context is everything and Nerve doesn’t have much because squeezing in another song from the soundtrack is more important than meaningful dialogue.
However, the biggest problem I have with Nerve is how over-the-top it becomes. It’s just too hard to keep buying the premise.
The top rated television program last week drew about 11 million viewers from all across the country. Yet, the creative team behind Nerve wants you to believe that just about every single person under the age of 25 in New York City is watching Nerve and paying $19.99 for the privilege.
They also want you to believe that this omnipresent group has minions all around the city who can light, decorate and fill a mysterious coliseum on Staten Island, or be following players around NYC filming every single task.
As Nerve loses more touch with reality, we lose interest.
1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)
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.