Review: “Nerve” Starts Out With Good Intentions; Loses Its Way Quickly



Title: Nerve [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
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Posted November 14, 2016 by

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Based on the novel by Jeanne Ryan, “Nerve” centers on a young woman, Vee (Emma Roberts), who’s tired of her best friend Sydney (Emily Meade) getting more attention than her while she kind of hangs out in the background and never takes chances. When she learns of a game that’s basically “Truth Or Dare” with only ‘dares’ and you can get paid for it, Vee decides this is her chance to live life to the fullest, be the cool girl for once, and possibly make that guy she has a crush on notice her. While attempting to complete the innocent dare of kissing a stranger for five seconds, Vee comes in contact with Ian (Dave Franco). Ian gives her the courage to try to new things, the ability to become a popular player on the game, and a chance to fall in love. But everything comes with a price, and Vee is about to learn that “Nerve” is more than just a game; it’s an underground culture that needs to be stopped.

“Nerve” started out with good intentions. It presented itself as a fun, action-packed, tense thriller that had no chance of being offensive and just wanted to give the audience an escape from reality for an hour and a half. Unfortunately about halfway through it begins to take itself too seriously and that’s when the train fell of the tracks. What could have been a simple premise that offered mindless fun quickly became a preachy teen melodrama that piled cliché on top of cliché until it became embarrassing to watch. I was ready to watch Emma Roberts and Dave Franco run around and do crazy stunts, but what I got instead was scenes of them shoplifting, singing in public, and being tasked by the game they were playing to get each other into petty fights with their friends. There’s one scene where the action reached its peak and that’s when Vee and Ian are told they can win a lot of money if they reach 60 MPH on a motorcycle in traffic while Ian is blindfolded. What I’m sure would be more than an intense thing to do in real life, this dare happens early on the film so I knew nothing was going to happen to them. Instead of it being a “what could happen” moment, it was a “please hurry up and move along” moment for me. That’s pretty much the theme all the way through: these people are never really in any kind of danger so nothing they do is interesting in any way because the audience knows they have nothing to lose.

The clichés I was referring to? Friends becoming enemies becoming friends, villains having a change of heart, the guy friend who’s in love with the girl that doesn’t think of him like that, amateur hackers trying to take down an anonymous entity, and everyone involved in the story really learning an important lesson when it’s all said and done. I didn’t read the source material so maybe I’m judging a YA novel as if it’s meant to be something more, but “Nerve” started out as a mindless action film and then tried to become an important think piece which it most assuredly is not. Sometimes keeping things simple is the better way to go.

“Nerve” is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. 






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