Two Ninas

on January 26, 2001 by Jordan Reed
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   Lord knows it's not easy to write a good script. If it was, movies would be better and critics would have a lot less to kvetch about. No matter how exceptionally a film is directed, how competent the acting in it, or how many millions of dollars went into its visual effects, if the bedrock that is the script is weak, the finished product won't work. Unfortunately, "Two Ninas" personifies the unsatisfactory results that stem from a poorly penned story.

   "Two Ninas" revolves around the love triangle between Marty (Ron Livingston of "Office Space"), Nina Cohen (Cara Buono of "Next Stop, Wonderland") and Nina Harris ("The Whole Nine Yards'" Amanda Peet), as recounted by Marty's good buddy Dave (Bray Poor), a chain-smoking lawyer and devout womanizer. Marty, a struggling novelist and sub-par Casanova near the end of his rope on the isolating island of Manhattan, meets and begins seeing the two lovely ladies within days of each other. At first content to juggle his dual relationships, Marty eventually realizes that while he cares strongly for each woman, he must decide between them before his duplicity gets him into trouble and hurts one or both.

   As its title suggests, Neil Turitz's debut project relies entirely too heavily on contrived coincidence to drive its plot forward--including an out-of-left-field and preposterous meeting between Marty and a literary agent--and neglects the more vital aspect of character development. Turitz sets up the traits of the unknowingly dueling women with building-block simplicity: one likes sports, quotes endless movie lines and makes Marty wait before sleeping with him; the other has an impressively cultural job as a museum curator, a ski chalet in Aspen and a ravenous libido. How is a stereotypical creative male supposed to choose? Turitz, perhaps unintentionally, makes Marty's monumental decision to give one of his Ninas the axe a no-brainer when, near the end of the film, one of them tells him to "turn that frown upside-down." It's simply impossible to have a meaningful relationship with anyone who uses that expression. And it's awfully hard to endure a script that contains it.    Starring Amanda Peet, Ron Livingston, Cara Buono and Bray Poor. Directed and written by Neil Turitz. Produced by Denise Doyle and Greg Scheinman. A Castle Hill release. Romantic comedy. Rated R for language. Running time: 88 min.

Tags: Starring Amanda Peet, Ron Livingston, Cara Buono, Bray Poor, Directed and written by Neil Turitz, Produced by Denise Doyle, Greg Scheinman, Castle Hill, Romantic comedy
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