NERVE -- from that Catfish duo, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman -- proves a trying time at the movies. For all its timeliness (giving us an online game more popular than this new Pokemon nonsense), the film keeps asking you to suspend your disbelief over and over until you're ready to scream, "Fuck it!" and take that disbelief behind the barn to permanently put it out of its misery. Younger audiences may be able to manage this. We older folk will want to call it a day well before this 96-minute movie does the same.
Jessica Sharzer (from a novel by Jeanne Ryan) in which, necessarily I suppose, the "game" at the center of the film overrides all else. The filmmakers, shown above, with Mr. Joost on the left (photo is by Jimi Celeste, courtesy of Getty Images) are at this point -- after Catfish and some of the Paranormal Activity drivel -- well-versed in hand-held, by-the-bootstraps filmmaking, and they do a good job or putting us in the role of voyeurs in the online game in which you are either a watcher or a player (you pay money to be the former, and perhaps considerably more than that if you choose to be the latter).
Emma Roberts, above) and maybe hero (the slightly-sleazier-than-his-older-brother, Dave Franco, below) do the dares and take us along with them.
Miles Heizer, above, right, as the lovestruck best male friend) or change character completely and unbelievably (Emily Meade as the best female friend and Colson Baker/aka Machine Gun Kelly as the top competitor in the game). Themes of ambition, fame, and the meaning of friendship rear their somewhat tired heads, too, and all are given as shallow a treatment as you might imagine.
Saw for the PG set. It would like to be a warning call regarding the morality of online game playing, but in its rush to finally make everything all right, not only does it not have the courage of its convictions, it turns out to have lacked any convictions in the first place. But, yes, it is -- off and on -- bad, silly fun.
Lionsgate and set to entice the marginally-intelligent teen crowd, the movie opens today all over the place. Click here, and you'll be greeted with a venue (or ten) near you.