Critics Consensus

Jason Bourne Thrills but Lacks Identity

Plus, Bad Moms is raucous but uneven, and Nerve is fitfully twisty.

by | July 28, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ll spend some time with a revenant spy (Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander), misbehaving mothers (Bad Moms, starring Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell), and a dangerous game (Nerve, starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco). What do the critics have to say?

Jason Bourne (2016) 55%

Death and taxes are often said to be life’s only inevitabilities, but in Hollywood, we’ve just about reached the point where we can add sequels to that list (and possibly ranked higher than taxes, but that’s a discussion for another day). This weekend’s Jason Bourne is the latest proof of that principle in action, bringing Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass back to the Ludlum-derived spy franchise nearly a decade after they swore they were finished with it — and unfortunately, quite a few critics say they should have left well enough alone. Where the original trilogy injected the espionage thriller genre with fresh visual kinetics and a satisfyingly complex post-Cold War perspective, this Bourne is content to play a variation on its predecessors’ themes, sending Damon’s titular ex-amnesiac assassin back into the breach for another round of globetrotting action that feels disappointingly similar. While watching Damon beat up bad guys still remains a fairly good time at the movies, reviews suggest this is one series that may have given us one sequel too many.

Bad Moms (2016) 58%

After decades of treating every non-rom-com genre as almost exclusively the dudes’ domain, Hollywood finally seems to be waking up to the idea that women can carry movies too, and that long-overdue transition makes it tempting to root for any movie that gives a traditionally male-centric premise a distaff twist — which is one reason why more than a few critics have admitted they had high hopes for Bad Moms. Starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn as suburbanites who shake off the social strictures of the minivan elite and bawdily embrace maternal imperfection, this raunchy comedy offers its stars a too-rare opportunity to indulge in the type of humor that usually goes to the bros, and reviews describe a movie that’s engaging even if it’s something less than the sum of its parts. Writer-directors Jon Lucas and Scott Moore obviously mean well, say the pundits, but considering the talent assembled, the end result should have been more consistent and far more daring; still, for filmgoers seeking a fun night out, Bad Moms should be worth the price of a ticket.

Nerve (2016) 67%

Anyone who’s ever felt the giddy rush of a social media like, retweet, or celebrity follow understands the lure of online acceptance — and how easy it is to get caught up in chasing its addictive lure. Nerve, the latest effort from Catfish directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, uses that craving as the springboard for a techno-driven teen thriller about a shy high school student (Emma Roberts) whose ordinary life is enlivened when she starts using an app that offers virtual notoriety (and real-world riches) in exchange for accepting crowd-sourced dares — and she soon finds herself snared in a sinister web of strangers’ demands. Critics say that although it’s arguably more compelling for the tween set, Roberts and co-star Dave Franco have an easy chemistry that adds an extra spark to the story’s timely themes, and Schulman and Joost direct the proceedings with plenty of visual flair. While few reviews argue it’s among the most thought-provoking cinematic statements on its subject, Nerve holds up as a generally agreeable mid-summer diversion.

What’s Hot on TV


Stranger Things: Season 1 (2016) 96%

Exciting, heartbreaking, and sometimes scary, Stranger Things acts as an addictive homage to Spielberg films and vintage 1980s television.

Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

Opinion New York Comic Con Pixar NBC 2018 sequel Pirates social media Acorn TV Rom-Com OWN Writers Guild of America Dark Horse Comics YA Horror robots Tomatazos Nickelodeon Teen Sneak Peek doctor who Summer Pop Music TLC based on movie travel Mary Poppins Returns APB Sundance Now Countdown crime drama 007 Reality Holidays Interview Paramount Network composers Sci-Fi IFC Films spy thriller History Shondaland Extras Apple PaleyFest CMT 2015 The CW technology ratings romance what to watch mutant Spectrum Originals A&E Rock green book Superheroes HBO aliens Winter TV Musical See It Skip It Star Trek PBS Awards Tour Thanksgiving Video Games SDCC GoT Certified Fresh Crackle GLAAD Nominations Song of Ice and Fire Animation period drama DC Comics Ellie Kemper Black Mirror Rocky serial killer Reality Competition BET comic Logo Food Network crime Comic Book Disney Channel Lucasfilm ABC Family Lionsgate television diversity MSNBC biography E3 blaxploitation 24 frames Western X-Men TV Land 2019 CBS All Access Walt Disney Pictures 2016 comiccon Cosplay Marvel RT History Brie Larson Comedy Grammys Starz historical drama DC Universe festivals cooking VH1 Fall TV TV science fiction streaming National Geographic Best and Worst Podcast ITV Syfy Superheroe YouTube Premium Ovation 45 Britbox Infographic Set visit sports USA vampires Schedule Mary Tyler Moore Ghostbusters casting BBC America Sundance DirecTV Quiz Toys Star Wars Premiere Dates Comedy Central Shudder sitcom Amazon CBS Trophy Talk singing competition BBC unscripted Winners miniseries Bravo Warner Bros. mockumentary cinemax justice league award winner Lifetime El Rey TCA 2017 Action SundanceTV Awards Showtime transformers Columbia Pictures political drama harry potter DC streaming service golden globes anime Marathons spider-man MTV Watching Series 2017 Esquire hist zombies Valentine's Day Super Bowl Trailer adventure Character Guide SXSW Trivia binge Masterpiece 20th Century Fox CW Seed cats TBS Amazon Prime facebook docudrama FOX Sony Pictures police drama Red Carpet jamie lee curtis Year in Review zombie Drama Freeform AMC Chilling Adventures of Sabrina dceu crime thriller dc Calendar Captain marvel USA Network Nat Geo TIFF Adult Swim TCM Disney First Look politics supernatural FXX Netflix war psycho TCA Christmas adaptation Epix cults Election Mindy Kaling Photos Polls and Games dramedy CNN Emmys ABC American Society of Cinematographers Country DGA San Diego Comic-Con E! IFC NYCC Tumblr Martial Arts WGN MCU Spring TV Biopics Kids & Family Mystery talk show Oscars President YouTube Red Mary poppins Paramount The Arrangement Anna Paquin Fox News Musicals TNT Creative Arts Emmys 21st Century Fox ESPN Cartoon Network Fantasy Hulu medical drama Spike Box Office GIFs boxoffice TruTV cops thriller Universal FX VICE crossover LGBTQ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Comics on TV discovery finale