By: Felix Felicis (Five Beers) –
It’s a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme, it’s teens and that damn meta message on the dangers of technology again. Seriously, are basements just for thirty-year-old dudes living at home now (are the kids no longer playing truth or dare with expired wine coolers without the added bonus of decapitation anymore)? Regardless, this was a shitty movie adapted from a shitty novel which made my life absolutely 100% shittier. Mini corn dog bites gave their lives (more on that odyssey later) so I could be thoroughly underwhelmed by this techno-turd of a flick. Don’t be fooled by the addition of Emma Roberts and Dave Franco on the roster here, Boozers, odds are pretty good some studio exec has a hell of a blackmail file on those two.
The plot is literally every other teen adventure thriller movie ever made spliced together into an unholy conglomeration known scientifically as a “hot mess” that is, a mess that was once messy but (due to the application of heat) is now EVEN MESSIER. The hard drive in my brain blacked out a lot of what happened in Nerve as a failsafe to keep the “What in the ever-living fuck?!?” levels of this shit from frying my intellectual motherboard. But here’s what I cobbled together after the fact: We follow Emma Roberts as “Vee”, a shy and somewhat nerdy high school senior around as she gets pushed into playing an anonymous online game called “Nerve” (It’s like truth or dare… without the truth! *insert the first of many eye rolls here*). Vee meets Dave Franco’s “Ian” on her first dare to kiss a stranger and the duo team up on an ever-escalating series of dares throughout the night trying to win some cash (and prizes) to validate their independence (Vee) and for other, more mysteriously sinister reasons (Ian). Add a smattering of Harmony Korine-esque neon barf to that synopsis, et voila. A Nerve souffle.
Dave Franco is fucking adorable, seriously, those eyebrows have had me under their caterpillar spell since 21 Jump Street.
That said, even Franco’s eyebrows and genuine delivery of a preposterous character begins to wear thin around act three and just goes off the goddamn rails during the finale. But hey, props to Emma Roberts for her willingness to make a quick buck and Franco for bolstering a poorly written, badly edited, and overwhelmingly ridiculous shit sandwich with everything he and those chiseled abs had.
Nerve is generic as shit from novelized conception to silver screen execution. I’ve read almost every novel of every film adaptation I’ve ever been assigned and I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve been completely certain stoned hamsters rolled in honey and bounced across keyboards have written a script in its entirety. But don’t worry, the one slightly twisted concept Nerve had going for it was scrubbed from the flick for being too icky (Vee gets dared to score an offer of 100 bucks for an act of prostitution- that she doesn’t even have to go through with) for teens to watch.
I’m also fairly sure Nerve tried to kill me… From closing all surrounding auditoriums and placing the Nerve screening at the end of a murder hallway, to tripping me halfway up the stadium seating stairway causing me to SPILL MY MINI CORN DOGS ALL OVER THE FLOOR thus spraining my ankle (and arguably last remaining functioning brain cell in the attempt to review this fecal fuckwittery), this flick was out for blood. Unfortunately, not the fun kind as Nerve was suitably declawed and any violence to showcase the perils and pitfalls of foolhardy adrenaline junkies was scrubbed squeaky clean (and devoid of true tension) for mass consumption.
This was not a movie. Nerve was a music video interspersed with clips of teenage techno Jackass daring and a collection of psuedo-clever quips like “snitches get stitches” and rejected bits of dialogue that didn’t make it into any of the Twilight flicks, like:
Ian: I wish we could’ve met some other way.
Vee: I don’t.
Vee: Crazy first date, huh?
Ian: Is that what that was?
Note: all quotes subject to accuracy as yours truly was mostly curled in the fetal position around a fifth of vodka cursing the condom shortage circa 2002 that led to the demand for such a film in the present day.
Raging tweet thief and all-around human dumpster fire, Fat Jew, has a cameo in this flick as a sassy tattoo artist and it’s like a shit-cherry on top of a shit-sundae served with shit-sparklers that, left unattended, burn your house down around your ears.
So bravo, Nerve, you were classy af while shoving a trite pop-culture meta message on responsible interneting and commentary on anonymous trolling with real-world consequences down our throats. Not to mention the loosely constructed character arcs and cobbled-together plot coherency all but fall apart near the end (but don’t worry, Nerve ties everything up with an Ocean’s Eleven patronizing resolution bow).
Never forget that mini corn dog bites gave their lives so I could be this unamused by Nerve. Take a hard pass on this techno-turd and see literally almost anything else (including those VHS tapes from the 90’s your mom is always trying to get you to catalog).
Nerve (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every completed dare and first person POV.
Do a Shot: whenever you see or hear “snitches get stitches”.
Take a Sip: for neon and product placement.
Shotgun your Beer: after the ultimate troll.