I like Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, but Nerve looks pretty silly. Also, my lack of excitement for the film isn’t helped much by the fact that the duo behind the internet-kitschy Catfish directed it.
Nerve has a fun concept, but it’s not particularly well executed. The film starts by introducing the photography-loving, non-risk-taking Vee (Emma Roberts) and her two best friends – a nerdy fella who is obviously in love with her, and a girl who is a bit of a daredevil. It’s the latter who introduces Vee to Nerve, an underground game that’s quickly becoming a hit. Via the app you can either watch people take on dares, or you can actually accept some of your own. Naturally, Vee should be a watcher, but in an attempt to prove that she’s not who people think she is, she starts accepting dares. This is when she meets Ian (Dave Franco), and the two pair up and have a glorious night! Or not.
For the first solid chunk of Nerve, I was into it. Sure, the film takes a little bit to get going and it’s shot in a unfortunate OMG-tech-is-so-kewl kind of way, but Roberts and Franco have solid chemistry, the “dares” properly ascend from cute to exciting/dangerous, and I found it easy to buy into the idea of everyone loving a game where you wander around obsessed with either garnering attention or watching others live. Somewhere near the third act though the film just totally falls apart. Weird motives and masked characters pop up without any explanation, things go from exciting to silly, and the movie just loses all momentum. Talk about limping across the finish line.
If you decide to catch Nerve, keep your expectations in check.
One Last Thought:
If those vids of kids climbing skyscrapers and cranes make you grab onto your chair because somehow you’re afraid you’re going to fall to your death, then Nerve may not be for you.