All About Nina.


By Joanna Langfield

In what is billed as a romantic comedy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead breaks your heart.

Nina is a stand up comedienne. (OK, maybe that’s the funny part) Getting nowhere in New York, she ups and moves to LA, hoping to restart things and land a gig as a contestant on one of those hot comic TV shows. But things don’t go so easy for Nina. Even when she meets a decent guy, she still messes it up. And her act often winds up giving new heat to the term ‘angry comic’. Why can’t Nina just be happy?

Writer/director Eva Vives puts a whole lot of stuff into a compact 97 minutes, filling out the mysteries of Nina’s life with colorful characters and hot button social issues. Even though the conceit has a lot going for it, perhaps more rewrites or another, additional, eye could have honed the piece, making it sharper and more effective. It’s not just enough to include big mentions, you’ve got to make them reverberate, make the audience feel their impact as well as the hard working actors who are tasked with delivering them.

Vives certainly has a great eye for talent, though, bringing the terrific and underused Camryn Manheim to the screen, as well as Jay Mohr and Common, perfectly (I hope) cast as a just wonderful boyfriend. But what makes this film work as well as it does is Mary Elizabeth Winstead, an actress far more interesting than many of her pervious credits betray. Except for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a psychological thriller so good both she and John Goodman earned award consideration and my heart forever. Here, Winstead gets to go through and into a veritable range of emotions. She’s dynamite. And we simply can’t take our eyes off of her.