ALL ABOUT NINA – A Review by Cynthia Flores
Finally, a movie where the lead is a provocative female comic trying to make it in the comedy Biz. Yes, women are and always have been, funny. This one is named Nina Geld (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who’s trying for her big break at being on Comedy Prime in Los Angles. The opportunity comes at a perfect time because she needs to get out of NYC and away from her disaster of an ex-boyfriend named Joe (Chace Crawford) who is abusive, a cop and oh yeah, married.
When she gets to LA, there is the expected NYC fish out of water parts of the story. Nina is dark and harsh while LA is sunny and filled with metaphysically sensitive people like Lake (Kate Del Castillo), a sexy Mexican writer and also a client of Nina’s agent Carrie (Angelique Cabral), who is letting Nina stay with her at her home while she waits for her audition.
While Nina is making the rounds of the LA comedy clubs, she meets the gorgeous and kind Rafe (Common) who is open, honest and a manly good guy. He’s intrigued by Nina's tough straight-talking intelligent comedy on stage, and she is confused by such kindness from such a masculine man. I tell you what, the scene where Common dances around and plays air guitar shirtless on a date with Nina is worth the price of admission all on its own.
The owner of Comedy Prime, Larry Michaels (Beau Bridges), which is a stand-in wink and nudge at Loren Michaels of SNL fame, finally makes his mind up about who he wants to consider for the opening he has. He pits all the female comics he’s eyeing for the one chick spot on the team against each other at a showcase where they have to perform impersonations one right after another. It’s entertaining watching the comradery and competition between the comedians before and after the show.
All About Nina is the directorial debut of writer/director Eva Vives and the pivotal truth that Nina tells to a crowd at a comedy club, using confessional style humor, at a pivotal moment in the audition process is a not so funny secret. This heartbreaking performance on stage by Mary Elizabeth Winstead was inspired by what the director actually lived through as a child herself. That is one of the reasons that the mess Nina has made of her life filled with destructive choices rings true in the writing and dialogue. Which makes the appearance of Rafe, who’s a good-hearted man that genuinely cares for her, so earth-shatteringly hard for Nina to accept.
All About Nina is wonderfully acted, believable, and a strong directorial debut. I hope this will be the first of many great films to come from this new voice. I give this film an A rating and hope you will seek it out this fall.
Directed by Eva Vives
Written By Eva Vives
Selig Rating A
Running Time 1hr 37min
Comedy / Drama
Limited Release October 5th AMC Mesquite 30
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Common, Chace Crawford, Kate Del Castillo, Beau Bridges, Clea DuVall
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.