Film debut of writer-director Neil Turitz is a solid twentysomething romantic comedy. In covering well-trod territory, he manages a few twists and, aided by an attractive cast, serves up a solid offering that could stir up a measure of interest mostly in extra-theatrical markets.

Film debut of writer-director Neil Turitz is a solid twentysomething romantic comedy. In covering well-trod territory, he manages a few twists and, aided by an attractive cast, serves up a solid offering that could stir up a measure of interest mostly in extra-theatrical markets.

Premise is simple: After a long dry spell in which dateless Marty Sachs (Ron Livingston) is ready to leave New York and return to the family business in Maine, he meets not one but two beautiful women. The film’s conceit is that they are both named Nina.

Nina Cohen (Cara Buono) is a feisty brunette who shares many of Marty’s passions but has been burned too many times. Nina Harris (Amanda Peet) is a blond knockout who literallysweeps him off his feet when he crashes into a cab she is exiting. The story is wryly narrated by Marty’s friend Dave (Bray Poor), who says that Marty’s main problem is that he cares too much.

Although Turitz breaks no new ground, there are some standout moments, such as a double date in which Marty and Cohen — as he refers to her to distinguish her from Harris — have a pleasant conversation while Dave and her friend Carrie (Linda Larkin) nearly rip each other’s heads off. There’s also the inevitable meeting of the two Ninas, which Turitz manages to keep fresh with a wholly unexpected twist.

Cast is solid, with three principals ably handling comedic and romantic chores, and Poor’s delivery as narrator adding an edge the proceedings might otherwise lack. In addition to the principals, Jill Hennessy has a nice turn as a Texan bartender, improbably named Mike, who advises Marty.

Tech credits are professional, with good use of music throughout, while visuals make fresh use of NYC locations.

Two Ninas

(ROMANTIC COMEDY)

Production

A King Brook Entertainment presentation in association with Castlerea Films and Accidental Pictures. Produced by Greg Scheinman, Denise Doyle. Executive producers, Seth Kanegis, Adam Sender. Directed, written by Neil Turitz.

Crew

Camera (DuArt color) Joaquin Baca-Asay; editor, Jumbulingam Chandrasekhar; music, Joseph Saba; production designer, Anthony Gasparro; art director, Andrea Stanley; costume designer, Stacey Lapidus; sound, Mike Decker, Andy Ellis; associate producers, Cara Buono, Dave McGuire, Doug Turner; assistant director, Dave McGuire. Reviewed at Boston Film Festival, Sept. 15, 1999. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Nina Cohen ..... Cara Buono Nina Harris ..... Amanda Peet Dave Trout ..... Bray Poor Carrie Boxer ..... Linda Larkin Marty Sachs ..... Ron Livingston Mike ..... Jill Hennessy
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more