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URGE is an early contender for ‘Worst Movie of the Year’…

Posted on June 6th, 2016
Posted on June 6th, 2016

by Coop Cooper

A group of ultra-privileged, 20-somethings (maybe 30-somethings?) take a private helicopter to an island mansion for an annual weekend of debauchery. Growing bored of all of their decadent choices for recreation, they decide to head to town to find a dance club for some old-fashioned drugs and dancing. They happen upon an ethereal, hedonistic club where anything goes. While the rest of the friends revel in the bizarreness, the wildest of the group, Jason (Justin Chatwin), goes on a mission to find drugs. He is directed to a sinister dealer, Daemon Sloan (Pierce Brosnan), peddling a new narcotic called ‘urge’. The rule is you can only handle one dose in your entire life, but will result in the best high of your life simply because it completely removes inhibitions.

The drug has the intended result on everyone except for Jason who remains mostly unaffected, possibly because he already lives without inhibitions. The next night, the friends all decide to disobey the rules and try it again. The result is a descent into violence and murder. As an uncharacteristically sober Jason tries to find a way to stop his friends from dying, the entire island descends into chaos.

The only way I can understand why this film exists is that director/producer Aaron Kaufman called in all of his favors to get enough recognizable actors to join this self-indulgent and poorly thought-out passion project. Even with former powerhouse screenwriter Jerry Stahl helming the script, there is nothing good, redeeming or interesting about the story, characters or the unoriginal concept. People in the film biz realize it’s often a miracle when a film turns out well, or even gets made at all, but it’s equally odd when such a monumental train-wreck releases despite the talent involved.

Turkeys like “Urge” always seem to happen under a certain set of circumstances: 1. The primary person in charge – possibly inexperienced in their position – wore too many hats and tried to micromanage the entire project. 2. Constructive and helpful advice was given, but ignored, starting from the script all the way to the final cut. 3. Other key players lacked confidence in the project and didn’t give it their 100%. 4. Act-of-God disasters, financing problems and various calamities plagued the production.

This isn’t always the case, but these are the most likely culprits of a bomb-in-the-making. The irony is that many of the greatest films of all time suffered from the same problems, but a film is only as good as its script, which is obviously where this project first went wrong.

There are no likable characters whatsoever. The first scene involves a young, Zuckerberg-like CEO (Danny Masterson) who ignores the pleas of his business partners as he petulantly plays with a helicopter drone. Afterwards, he basically shoots them the old, lame, I-can-buy-and-sell-you-10x-over speech then informs them that he’s going to leave them swinging in the wind so he can fly off to party with his friends. These ‘friends’ are just as vapid and annoying as they make crude sex jokes and give high fives like they were still in junior high. Jason wastes a $100K bottle of scotch for the thrill of it. They even turn up their noses at a private tennis lesson from Pete Sampras. Long before they even get to Pierce Brosnan, you won’t care whether any of these dopes live or die.

And let’s talk about Pierce for a moment. He’s in the film maybe for five minutes total. He only interacts with Justin Chatwin’s character. He speaks in riddles, like he knows a secret everyone else doesn’t. **SPOILER ALERT** He is the Devil. Pierce Brosnan plays the exact same character Al Pacino portrays in 1997 film “The Devil’s Advocate”. He is using the urge drug to bring about the apocalypse and the island is his testing ground. His point seems to be that humans boiled down to their base emotions are inherently evil and will destroy themselves. For some inexplicable reason, he wants Jason to join him – kinda like a Darth Vader/Luke Skywalker thing – possibly because Jason has never had much of a conscience to begin with? Jason proves him wrong, of course, but that isn’t good enough to stop the apocalypse. All of their interactions go something like this: Sloan – *Says something witty and cryptic* Jason – “You’re annoying. Are you ever going to get to the point?”

Unfortunately the viewers are likely thinking the same thing.

This mess is all over the place and doesn’t know if it wants to be a sci-fi thriller, a horror film or a sleazy, late-night Skinemax movie. It fails on all fronts. Absolutely nothing works, which in a morbid way is fascinating to a critic like myself. It takes a special kind of mid-air collision to create a film this bad. Which is precisely why you might want to watch it yourself… Morbid curiosity.

“Urge” is screening in limited theaters and is available on Video on Demand.

Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

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