Nico & Dani

"OK"

Nico & Dani Review


It's hard to buy the nonchalance of the homosexual experimentation that takes place between two teenage best friends in this Spanish coming-of-age fable "Nico and Dani," which takes place over a few weeks of summer in a seaside town near Barcelona.

The problem has nothing to do with the performances of Jordi Vilches and Fernando Ramallo, the two brilliantly ingenuous young actors in the title roles. It has nothing to do with the circumstances of the initiation of their libidos -- they're 15-year-old boys with time on their hands and partners (initially girls) at their disposal.

But when they start...errr...manually pleasuring each other, completely out of the blue, the viewer gets mentally yanked right out of the story by involuntary attempts to figure out what signals were missed that indicated these kids were so free with each other. I don't know about you, but nobody I knew -- gay or straight -- did this sort of thing with their pals when I was 15.

Nico and Dani aren't lovers. They're school chums. In fact, Dani's the only one who is beginning to realize he's gay. Nico has just come to visit Dani so he can hone his skirt-chasing skills on the bikini-clad local girls, like flirty Elana (Mariete Orozco) and virginal Berta (Esther Nubiola) -- two sweet beauties who take a shine to our heroes.

When the film hasn't gone off on an awkward sexual tangent, the gawky credibility of the actors' teenage tenuousness really sells the story of these boys. It's packed with 100-percent authentic moments of adolescence, like the party scene in which Nico and Dani end up feeling two feet tall when they arrive to see their girls talking to a pair of older, much taller, more manly boys. Later in the same scene they pair off boy-girl, boy-girl for an ungainly slow-dance that will induce flashbacks in anyone who ever rocked clumsily back and forth with their hands on someone's hips in a school gymnasium.

In such moments "Nico and Dani" is superbly spot-on. Later, when Dani is charmed by an older man and begins to embrace his sexual preferences, the film moves into an honest portrayal of homosexual and heterosexual awakening. Writer-director Cesc Gay (who loosely adapted the film from a stage play called "Krampack" -- slang for the boys' sexual games) clearly remembers well what it is to be at that age when hormones are raging and confusion is copious.

As a director Gay also clearly understands his medium, taking proficient advantage of the film's Mediterranean small-town atmosphere and giving "Nico and Dani" a contagious lightness of spirit.

But every time Gay jumps headlong into one of these tactless sexual scenarios between the boys, the picture derails because these scenes seem so very out of character.

Had there been some establishing of Dani's sexual leanings, or even one moment in which Nico was taken aback by his friend's queer (in both senses of the word) suggestions -- thus providing a base from which to build this angle of the story -- "Nico and Dani" might not feel so bumpy and uneven, allowing its more admirable elements to come through.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Cesc Gay

Starring: as Dani, as Nico, as Elena, as Berta, as Julian, as Sonia, as Marianne, Muntsa Alcañiz as Madre de Dani, Mingo Ràfols as Arturo

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.