Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a foul-mouthed comedienne in New York struggling to make her mark. And she’s in a sick relationship with a married man. Something’s gotta change. Her only hope is a move to LA where there’s a competition that, should she win, she’ll get a one hour special all her own on a hit show called Comedy Prime. So NY girl heads to the coast. And she meets nice guy Rafe (Common) there. Only she’s really not that good at healthy relationships because she has all this baggage. So will she win the competition and figure out how to be with a guy who treats her right?
Nina’s comedy consists of talking about sex. And it’s pretty angry about sexism. And every time she comes off stage she throws up. She’s attractive and guys are always hitting on her, and she shoots them down one after another, but when she meets Rafe, and he’s not all about having sex with her, there’s an attraction, but she doesn’t really know how to deal with it. And that’s really what the film is about. She’s damaged, and it informs her comedy and her relationships. And only when she come to terms will both of them be successful.
I really wanted to like this little indie, but the first problem for me was that the comedy wasn’t funny and was pretty much one note. Then the damaged girl who has a meltdown on stage just seemed to come out of nowhere. And the La-La-Land cliches just put it over the top. Writer/director Eva Vives’s script basically lacked any nuance and I just didn’t care enough about Nina. And that’s too bad, because both Winstead and Common, along with the supporting cast, were all quite good. All About Nina is a missed opportunity for the #MeToo movement, too, and that’s sad. Wait for it on a plane, if you must see it.
[Mainstream Chick’s take: I seriously thought Arty Chick would like this one a lot more than I did, since it’s arty/indie all the way. So ya just never know! I agree the meltdown comes a bit out of nowhere, but it’s also worth noting that Winstead delivers a knock-out performance that shows some tremendous range. Her performance is better than the film. -hb]