This new low-budgeter about a passionate, talented, though dangerous comedienne feels felicitous as familiar as the material may seem. It may lack the depth of Obvious Child which featured Jenny Slate in the same occupation, but still is observant, notably in present-day idiosyncrasies and in its themes which revolve around identity.
Eva Vives’s first foray into full-length feature-length filmmaking, All About Nina, senses the pulse of a person like Nina Geld and the brooding and raucous places she inhabits.
The Big Apple stand-up has an aggressive persona that suppresses personal demons. Puking after an on-stage performance and very promiscuous, she’s involved with a heartless leech of a married man of the law (Chace Crawford).
Reaching a breaking point and willing to move forward in her life an L.A. audition for an SNL-like program Comedy Prime (with Beau Bridges as Larry, not Lorne, Michaels, its bigwig) looks promising. Especially when she meets Rafe (rapper and producer Common of John Wick Chapter 2 and Selma) and things go well. Alas, her emotional issues begin to resurface and start to quickly subvert a new beginning. Nina’s new living quarters, thanks to a New Age lesbian author, a bohemian friend of her agent, Lake (an enjoyable Kate del Castillo), is a little improbable and gaudy. The kinkiness of this setting is reinforced by Vives’ verve towards this type of scene maybe like would could have appeared in offerings like Laurel Canyon.
A late monologue dovetails the shading provided with few twists in order, perhaps, to make one have second thoughts about what preceded it. Nevertheless, an aching boldness comes through from a dominating Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane, Smashed) in the title role with good rapport with Common and del Castillo. In the case of the former there’s an extended frisky sequence on a first date and is quite convincing as the very frank comic. All About Nina can be grueling for the viewer though purifying for the headliner as she lets down her guard. And, it was made before the #MeToo movement really send shockwaves around Hollywood.