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Nina Takes a Lover Movie Review

san joke giacomo alan

There's a very old joke that bartenders still tell sometimes about the real identities of their weekend clientele. If by some extraordinary chance you haven't heard the joke, Nina Takes a Lover may seem like a fresh take on the ancient concept of the wife having a fling while her husband is out of town. The title character tries to explain to a nosy journalist that “it's more complicated than that.” But it isn't—it's exactly that and no more, except for the always beautiful San Francisco locations (with Oakland doubling for its neighboring city in a few sequences). One might wonder about the direction of Laura San Giacomo's career which was sizzling hot at the time she made sex, lies and videotape, but lost steam fast in a succession of supporting roles in films that took a dive or showcased other players. From being “devastatingly erotic” at age 27 in her breakthrough film to looking like a little girl playing dress-up (at age 30!) in Under Suspicion, San Giacomo's cinematic identity seems distressingly out of focus. (In fact, she had signed on for episodic television by 1997.) As Nina, she delivers the sort of low-key performance suitable for a telly feature of the week, entirely in keeping with both the spirit and the execution of writer/director Alan Jacobs’ first feature. Brit Paul Rhys is an agreeable presence as the enigmatic photographer who pursues her and beyond that, what can we say? If it's a new joke to you and you enjoy the scenery, Nina Takes a Lover may be just the video ticket for a wistful spring evening.

1994 (R) 100m/C Laura San Giacomo, Paul Rhys, Michael O'Keefe, Cristi Conaway, Fisher Stevens; D: Alan Jacobs; W: Alan Jacobs; C: Phil Parmet; M: Todd Boekelheide. VHS, LV, Closed Caption

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