Two Ninas (1999) / Romantic Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for language Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Ron Livingston, Bray Poor, Cara Buono, Amanda Peet, Jill Hennessy, John Rothman
Director: Neil Turitz
Screenplay: Neil Turitz
Dating two great women at once would sound like every man's dream, but the reality of it can be an excruciating experience when you have to choose between them. What's worse is when you find yourself in love with both, and you know if they ever find out that you are a two-timer, you will end up with neither.
This is the scenario as presented in first-time writer/director Neil Turitz movie, TWO NINAS. Ron Livingston (OFFICE SPACE, SWINGERS) stars as Marty Sachs, a down-and-out loser without much of a dating life who confronts such a dilemma when he meets two different women, both named Nina, and who strikes up hot and heavy romances with both of them. Marty wants to do the right thing, but never thought he's find Ms. Right, much less two, and as the relationships get more serious, complications ensue when he has to make a final decision.
Turitz shows some occasional spark in the dialogue, even if the overall plot is tired, and most of the points scored comes from the insights which surface from time to time. The downside comes from the low-budget look of the lighting and the rather amateurish soundtrack, as well as some curious motivations of the characters. Bray Poor plays Marty's best bud, Dave, who plays the narrator of the film, with the strange habit of only smoking freshly-lit cigarettes in every scene. Although it's unintentional, Marty would almost be seen as a borderline alcoholic if you observe how much he drinks in this film, starting off in a party where he does nothing but hang out at the bar, and luckily for him he meets the first Nina, who has the same problem. For the rest of the film, it's three shots, four shots, beer, and more shots. Not that this makes the film bad, but it goes to show that this is a beginner filmmaking mistake to shoot scenes without an overall vision.
TWO NINAS delivers exactly what you'd expect from a low-budget romantic comedy, no more, no less. It's for people who have seen most of the mainstream romantic comedies out there already, and happen to be in the mood for another. To that end, the film is worthwhile as it presents an interesting dilemma, and maintains a pleasant tone throughout, without ever becoming too stupid to take seriously. What it does lack is distinction, as it's about as derivative as any, a vapid but benign viewing for people who don't mind their movies vapid but benign.
© 2003 Vince Leo