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Urge (2016)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

URGE (2016)

Starring: Justin Chatwin, Danny Masterson, Ashley Greene, Bar Paly, Nick Thune, Pierce Brosnan

Written By: Gary Busick & Aaron Kaufman & Jason Zumwalt (also story), Jerry Stahl

Directed By: Aaron Kaufman

The Shot

Urge is a shallow and very predictable flick about naughty behavior that tries to dress itself with avant garde flash while admiring itself in a mirror.  If you dug 1990s late night cable, there may be something for you here, but for most audiences, this one will be very easy to pass by.

The Highball

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?


Sounds sophisticated if you pretend I’m not referring to an appetizer special at a chain restaurant.

Pairs Well With...


Removes inhibitions without resorting to the horrifying waste that would be mixing 62 year old Macallan and Coke.

“Do you have any?”

Self awareness: it’s a good attribute for individual human beings to have, but the matter becomes rather sketchy when the label is achieved by movies not called Deadpool.

Urge is very, very self aware.  Specifically, it’s aware in the fashion of gazing longingly at itself in a mirror.

The tale is familiar and predictable.  A ridiculously rich jerk whose name you’ll forget shortly after you hear it invites a group of his old college buddies – along with the uptight woman he’s hoping to make into his next sexual conquest – to his island mansion to party and bask in the glory of his wealth and all of the nifty stuff it can buy when he’s feeling generous.  On the first night of their bacchanalia, the group goes to a highly exotic club called Volcano.  There, they are introduced to an amazing drug called Urge the produces the most incredible high imaginable and delivers users complete freedom from all inhibitions.  But there’s a rule about this drug: you can only take it once. Ever. In your life.

Does anyone think that these spoiled people are going to obey said rule?  Anyone?  Yeah, right.  And of course there will be serious hell to pay for that transgression…

In nearly every respect (including the stunt casting of Pierce Brosnan as the film’s antagonist), Urge resembles nothing so much as it does the mirror-gazing late night fare that used to haunt the Showtime cable network during the 1990s; a Red Shoe Diaries episode stretched to an hour and a half, full of slick shots, funky edits, and empty coffee house dialogue supporting a highly predictable plot centered around sex and/or sin.

To be honest, I think Urge would have found a better footing as a 1990s late night Showtime flick, because then at least the creative team could have been honest with themselves and the story they’re telling and loaded it up with the nudity it is very pointedly missing.  (Seriously.  A story centered entirely around the idea of total release of inhibition – especially one with this much sex – needs the nudity to be credible.  There’s no way this many uninhibited people are keeping their clothes on even when copulating.  It reeks of bogusness.)  As it stands, the obvious MPAA-pleasing sanitization prevents the viewer from having any chance of becoming absorbed in the world of the film, and with a story this familiar, Urge really could have used all the help it could get.

Because come on: he’s only called The Man, but you know who Pierce Brosnan is supposed to be from the get-go (though a late line of dialogue does make a very tiny allowance for the possibility of one other name… which would effectively make zero difference), and once you know that, you know the whole score.  Unless you allowed your wishful thinking to hope for that nudity that never comes, there are no surprises to be had here between the credit sets, at which point, you probably already know whether or not you’ll enjoy it.  If you like the formula and are in it to see how this team plays with the details, good for you!  Though Urge is hardly as clever as it seems to think it is, it’s passable enough fare for the savvy audience.  (And extra surreal to experience alone in an otherwise empty movie theatre.)  I’ll even say that I’d be willing to watch it again, even though the film itself warns against doing Urge more than oncce.  Own it?  I don’t think so.  But watch it?  It could happen... though I do still wish they’d let Urge go unrated.  I did, after all, appreciate my share of late night cable once upon a time.

But for the audience at large, especially those who might be drawn in by the stunt casting of Mr. Brosnan without asking any other questions first?  Yeah, no.

(For those who do decide to try Urge, feel free to stick around after the credits for a very disappointing coda.)

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, June, 2016

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