Nerve Review

Nerve movie posterSynopsis
Nerve is an online game where “watchers” create dares for the “players.” Vee (Emma Roberts) joins the game and meets Ian (Dave Franco). As the game goes on, Vee realizes there is a sinister secret to Nerve.

Review
Nerve is a movie that is an interesting place. It portrays anonymity on the internet, online fame, and the power of social media, something that is very present in society today. The commentary is relative to the explosion of the internet and increase in popularity of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. It knows the message it wants to get across and for most of the film, it is woven into the story well. However, once the movie begins to ramp up to the conclusion, it gets heavy handed, really driving home what it’s trying to convey. Up until then, it was enjoyable. As someone who is constantly on the internet, knowing the basic premise of the film and its look at online culture was enough to get me interested in the film. Yet it took a little while for me to get into the characters. It’s not until the middle act of the movie that things get engaging.

Emma Roberts as Vee was a different role than I’m used to seeing her in. Normally, she plays the snotty or mean girl. But here, she plays a more shy and reserved type of character and she has no problem pulling it off. Dave Franco is a fun complement to Roberts. The two of them together mesh well and their relationship feels believable. The other characters serve little more than to act like different perspectives into the movie’s social commentary. As a result, they get little screen time as the movie focuses mainly on Roberts’ and Franco’s characters.

I thought Nerve was OK 😐 While Emma Roberts and Dave Franco are an entertaining pairing, it took a little too long for me to really get into the film. Then just as it was hitting its stride, it slaps you over the head with its social commentary. Despite that, I really enjoyed the message of this cautionary tale.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Henry Joost – Director
Ariel Schulman – Director
Jessica Sharzer – Screenplay
Rob Simonsen – Composer

Emma Roberts – Vee
Dave Franco – Ian
Emily Meade – Sydney
Miles Heizer – Tommy
Juliette Lewis – Nancy
Kimiko Glenn – Liv
Colson Baker – Ty
Brian Marc – JP
Ed Squires – Chuck

We’re the Millers Review

We're The Millers movie posterSynopsis
When David Clark (Jason Sudeikis), a small-time pot dealer, gets robbed, his supplier (Ed Helms) tasks him with picking up a “smidge” of marijuana from Mexico. To avoid suspicion, he hires a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), a runaway (Emma Roberts), and a kid from his apartment (Will Poulter) to act as his family.

Review
Whenever you see a film preview, you set in your mind how you are going to feel about that movie once you see it. Whether or not you are aware of it, those thoughts are there. Sometimes these notions can be detrimental to what we think about the movie, even after it’s finished. But every now and then, a movie comes along and exceeds any expectations you have already set in your head. We’re the Millers, for me, is one of those movies. After seeing the previews, I thought it would just be an average comedy. I knew I would it enjoy it, but I never imagined it would as entertaining as it was.

One thing that surprised me is how well the main characters were fleshed out. With four core cast members, it can be difficult to explore the relationships between all of them, but We’re the Millers managed to do it with satisfying results. Not only was the parent-children relationship between Sudeikis/Aniston and Roberts/Poulter explored, but also the relationship between Sudeikis and Aniston (husband and wife), Sudeikis and Poulter (father and son), Aniston and Roberts (mother and daughter), and Poulter and Roberts (brother and sister). Yea, that’s a lot of character exploration in two hours, yet it was pulled it off without feeling rushed or hollow. A truly impressive feat for less than two hours of screen time.

With the exploration of all the different relationships, it was fun to see the Millers grow together, too. I don’t use “heartfelt” to describe many comedies, but We’re the Millers really made you care for the characters. Adding factors to strain their relationships, but then bring them back together, almost like they were the family they were trying to pretend to be, deepened the characters. Like I said above, the characters were really fleshed out, something uncommon in most comedies, and it made the movie that much more enjoyable.

Poulter was extraordinary as the awkward teenager. He does an excellent job of standing with veteran comedians Aniston and Sudeikis and not being overshadowed. Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) and Kathryn Hahn (Step Brothers) also have noteworthy performances as a couple going through a midlife crisis. They have a recurring presence throughout the film and shine whenever they are on screen. Hahn’s energy is a good balance to Offerman’s seriousness.

We’re the Millers carries and R-rating, but I think it could have easily pulled a PG-13 rating. This movie could have easily accommodated a wider audience, despite its raunchy nature, simply by removing the F-bombs. Not that I have a problem with the word “f**K” (I use it frequently myself), but the movie could have made some tweaks to the dialog without losing any of its humor, while at the same time appealing to a wider range of moviegoers. I’m sure the TV edited version will help this.

I really enjoy going to the movie theater and leaving feeling the film surpassed my expectations. Great character moments, spot-on humor, and nonstop laughs makes We’re the Millers a surprisingly heartfelt and stand-out comedy.

Rating
4/5