Movie Date: Nerve (PG13)
If the flashy millennial theme doesn't get on your nerves, this is one date movie everyone will be game for.
STARRING: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis
DIRECTORS: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
THE SKINNY: Industrious high school senior Vee (Roberts) is done with playing safe and living life on the sidelines. In a moment of impulse, she signs up for popular online ''truth-or-dare'' game Nerve, where she lands herself a partner in the form of mysterious adrenaline junkie Ian (Franco). The duo take on increasingly dangerous dares. However, as their number of followers grow astronomically, Nerve takes a sinister turn and shows its manipulative side.
Over the past decade, teen movies have been supplanted by epic YA (young adult) franchises.
The only thing movie teenagers used to care about was getting wild.
Now, they all want to save the world.
Of course I love Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent and the rest, but the bigness of these properties has become a bit wearying.
Big ideas. Big stars. Big budgets. Big deal.
Let's face it - we're jaded.
Nerve is something of a throwback to the teen films of yore - it's closer in spirit to Risky Business, Hackers and Go.
It's just a couple of kids getting caught up in a crazy adventure.
The thing that really sells Nerve is the look.
Sexy kids. Neon lights. Designer clothes. Computer graphics. A hot motorcycle. The New York City skyline.
The nice thing is that in spite of its flashiness, it's not all style and no substance.
It's a simple, solid story well told.
You'll get to really like Roberts and Franco, who come across as genuine sweeties and are a couple of tiny, talented terrors.
Though I find the ending for Nerve a tad corny, it's excellent overall.
If I were still 18, this would be my jam.
It's official: I'm old. I have to accept the fact that there are some movies I have trouble enjoying to the fullest because my brain is no longer wired like a flighty teenager's.
How else to explain the feelings of alienation that struck me as I watched this techno-thriller?
Adapted from a popular young adult novel, Nerve is perfect for app-obsessed youngsters whose lives revolve around Snapchat.
In fact, the fictional game Nerve is very much a souped-up version of Pokemon Go. It's tied to GPS and real-life locations.
The only difference is that Nerve has the "dare" element thrown in with big prize money at stake.
Visually, the film is a stunner, with the use of sharp camera angles and vivid, striking colours.
The intense challenges, such as the one where Ian rides a motorbike blindfolded or when Vee walks on a ladder lodged horizontally between windows 12 storeys above the ground, are shot spectacularly.
It is the characters' motivations and emotional journeys that leave me cold. I cannot understand how Vee can change overnight from a shy, bookish girl to a daredevil. Her story arc is written to imply that she always had a latent adventurous steak, but the transformation is just too unrealistic.
Oh well, guess I'm just a geezer after all.
- TAN KEE YUN
THE CONSENSUS: If the flashy millennial theme doesn't get on your nerves, this is one date movie everyone will be game for.