Tag Archives: dave franco

‘Nerve’ Colorful, Manic Summer Fun

Nerve_2016_posterVery rarely is a movie exactly what its trailer paints it out to look like, but this is fortunately one of the times where that is the case.

“Nerve” stars Emma Roberts as a high school senior (looks like she still hasn’t graduated since she was a senior in 2011’s “Scream 4”) who starts playing an online game that dares players to do real-world activities for money. Along the way she meets Dave Franco, a fellow player. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman direct.

The trailers made this out to be a fast, colorful, breezy summer movie and that is exactly what it is. It doesn’t take itself too seriously yet offers some smart social commentary, and isn’t too ludicrous but still knows how to have fun with the audience. This is just one of those movies you can sit back and enjoy and I truly had a blast with it.

The whole film felt like a mix of “Catfish” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” which makes sense as Joost and Schulman directed the original “Catfish” documentary, as well as some “Paranormal Activity” films. A lot of times, “Nerve” transitions to the view of someone’s phone which for the most part is a nice way to get a different viewpoint, even if at times it is a bit distracting and other times just aren’t plausible from the angle the character is supposedly at.

Roberts and Franco have solid chemistry, even if they’re no Gosling and Stone. Roberts is the play-it-safe shy girl and Franco does his normal Cool Guy Joe routine and the contrasts play off each other nicely. Some other cast members do turn in bad performances, especially one by Machine Gun Kelly who is just plain awkward as the film’s antagonist.

While the first half of the film is at a fun, rapid fire pace, the second act does take a noticeable step back and I know exactly when that point is. Without spoiling anything, there is one dare that is insanely intense (I was getting sweaty palms) but once that scene is over and the audience stops holding their breath the film lets out some air, too. It would’ve been a lot to ask the film to keep up at the pace it was going, but until we reach the climax it doesn’t even compare the first hour.

I really did enjoy “Nerve,” just about as much as I hoped and thought I would. It is a lot of fun, and not even in a turn-your-brain off kind of way. The film actually says some smart things to say about teenagers, their phones and what people will do to get internet famous and it is all delivered in a colorful little package. Talk about a mid-summer dream.

Critics Rating: 7/10



‘Neighbors’ a Fun Watch

neighborsImagine the Farrelly Brothers directed “Animal House”. The outcome would be something very similar to “Neighbors”. Directed by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” director Nicholas Stoller, the film stars Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as new parents whose life is turned upside down when a fraternity, led by Zac Efron and Dave Franco, moves in next door.

Seth Rogen was placed on Hollywood’s comedy radar when he exploded onto the scene in 2007 with “Knocked Up” and “Superbad”. Since then, he has made films that have been revered as some of the funniest films of the past decade, like “Pineapple Express” and “This Is the End”. It can be argued that he has never made a bad film, and certainly never something as lazy as most Adam Sandler movies. And the fact that “Neighbors” is not one of Rogen’s funniest films, but is still a solid film, says a lot.

In the very first scene of “Neighbors”, you know exactly what kind of movie you’re in store for. The film opens up with Rogen and Byrne awkwardly trying to get intimate in front of their newborn baby (yeah, the movie is set in a world where Seth Rogen can get a girl like Rose Byrne). The film has its share of gross out gags, and fair share of genitalia jokes, but it knows exactly where to end the joke and never overdoes it, like so many wannabe raunchy movies try to do.

The best part of “Neighbors”, a film featuring established comedy stars like Rogen, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Hannibal Buress, is Zac Efron. For some reason, some people don’t like Efron. They say he’s just a pretty boy or a Disney Kid, or are just plain jealous (I mean, just look at the guy). But Efron may have just found his new niche, because he is perfectly cast as Teddy, the leader of the Delta Psi fraternity. Seamlessly blending cool nice guy with jerk, Efron steals every scene he is in, and possibly part of what makes his role so great is seeing the star of “High School Musical” dropping f-bombs and smoking joints.

What holds “Neighbors” back from the levels of Rogen’s other films is the amount of jokes in the film. While there are a lot of moments with clever gags or funny one-liners, there are sometimes five to ten minute segments where you won’t laugh; either a joke falls flat or there just doesn’t even seem to be one attempted. “Ted” had a similar issue; the film is never boring, it just may not be as funny as it thinks or hopes it is.

Editors don’t get enough credit from the normal filmgoer, so I’ll give Zene Baker, the editor of “Neighbors”, major props. The film is very well paced; its 96 minutes and but never feels rushed, and there are a few fun transition shots.

“Neighbors” isn’t the funniest film Seth Rogen has ever made, but it is still very entertaining. Zac Efron may have broken out of his shell and the rest of the supporting cast each lend something special. The film has its share of heart, too. I guess you could say the film is neat, tight and easy to watch; just like Zac Efron’s torso.

Critics Rating: 7/10