So, last night, my boyfriend and I watched Nurse 3D because, based on the trailer that was released way back in January, we thought that it would be a sexy, fun, and enjoyably lurid movie. Do you remember that trailer? In case you need a reminder, here it is:
So, we finally got around to watching the movie and oh my God, you guys — sometimes trailers lie! I know, I know — it’s a shock. I’m still struggling to deal with it myself!
Actually, technically, the trailer for Nurse 3D doesn’t really lie. The trailer tells us that the film is about a nurse who is obsessed with another nurse and who spends the majority of the film wearing only a bra. And that’s true! But, somehow, the trailer also makes the film look like it’s a lot more fun than it actually is. The trailer reveals that Nurse 3D is meant to be something of a satirical tribute to the exploitation films of the past. What it doesn’t reveal is that the film largely does not work.
In Nurse 3D, Paz de la Huerta plays Abby Russell, a nurse who also happens to be a serial killer. When we first meet her, she’s wandering through a club in a black lace, see-through dress. In a narration that de la Huerta delivers in an emotionless drone, Abby explains that men are a disease that has been created in an “alcoholic petri dish” and that is now “infecting innocent vaginas.”
“There is only one cure for the married cock,” Abby tells us, “Only me. I’m the nurse.”
Abby, we discover, specializes in murdering married men who are on the verge of committing adultery. Sounds like a good idea for a movie, right? Well, don’t get too attached to it because, once we get through the opening credits, that entire storyline pretty much disappears.
Instead, Abby becomes obsessed with a new nurse named Danni Rogers (Katrina Bowden). One night, after Danni both has a fight with her boyfriend (Corbin Bleu) and gets yelled at by a jerk of a doctor (played by Judd Nelson), Abby invites Danni out to a club. Abby gets Danni drunk and drugged and soon they’re making out on the dance floor. The next morning, Danni wakes up in Abby’s bed. When Danni refuses to spend the day with Abby and quickly leaves, Abby reacts by trying to destroy Danni’s life…
And that plot line goes on for a while until, eventually, the filmmakers remembered that this was supposed to be a 3D film and, with the exception of one man hurtling towards the camera after being tossed off a rooftop, nothing in the film has really lent itself to whole 3D thing. So, suddenly, Abby goes from being coolly calculating to being batshit insane, essentially so that she’ll have an excuse to toss medical equipment straight at the camera.
(I’m going to guess that this all probably looked really impressive in 3D but since we were watching the film in 2D, who cares?)
And then, eventually, the movie ends.
I like what Nurse 3D was trying to do. The film is obviously meant to pay homage to the classic exploitation films to the past. That was obvious in everything from the overwritten narration to the hilariously fetishized nurses uniforms to the unapologetically sordid nature of the entire plot.
However, the film’s execution left a lot to be desired. For all of it’s attempts to celebrate over-the-top exploitation, the film never quite seems to understand what makes those films so memorable in the first place. Perhaps if Nurse 3D had stuck with being a film about a nurse who kills cheating husbands, the film would have worked. But, instead, it just becomes yet another film about an obsessive friend who turns out to be a psycho and who, fortunately for her, is lucky enough to be surrounded by people too stupid to pick up on the most obvious of clues.
And it doesn’t help that, whatever the joke was that Nurse 3D was trying to tell, it’s obvious that Paz de la Huerta was not in on it. In many ways, her character is meant to be a throwback to the great and deadly femme fatales of yesterday but it takes more than having a good body to be a femme fatale. You have to have style and that’s totally what her performance is missing. Scarlett Johansson could have worked wonders with the role of Abby Russell but Paz de la Huerta just seems to be lost.
That’s actually a pretty good description of Nurse 3D. It started out on the right track but, obviously, it lost its way.
Pingback: 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014 | Through the Shattered Lens