Review by Sean Boelman
If Lucy Hale’s recent filmography indicates one thing, it is that she needs a better agent. However, with her starring turn in the new romantic comedy A Nice Girl Like You, Hale proves that she is in fact a very talented actress when she is given the right material as opposed to the subpar horror movies that have comprised a majority of her past leading roles.
The movie follows a woman who, after breaking up with her ex-boyfriend for being too sexually reserved, sets out on a journey to complete a wild to-do list in the hopes that she will become more comfortable with sex. The screenplay, by novice writer Andrea Marcellus, is based on a memoir by Ayn Carrillo Gailey, but loses a lot of touch with reality in trying to stick with romantic-comedy conventions.
When the film does confront modern opinions and beliefs regarding sex, it is actually quite insightful. Far too often, this genre is very one-sided about relationships, but that is not the case here. The intent is not to demonize either perspective, but rather, to explore the ways in which embracing one’s sexuality can be a positive experience.
Of course, the movie cracks jokes along the way, and even though they can sometimes distract from some of the meatier material, they also provide ample laughs. Admittedly, the film is surprisingly sanitized for a sex comedy (it’s certainly rated R, but doesn’t reach the hard-R level that would have made it stand out), but it’s enjoyable nevertheless.
A big part of what makes the movie work so well is its unique characterization. In addition to the compelling and unorthodox protagonist, there are plenty of memorable and interesting supporting characters. A few, like the protagonist’s promiscuous friend, feel like obligatory attempts at pushing the narrative forward, but most are quite natural.
Hale’s charisma as the lead is also a significant factor in the film’s success. She seems much more comfortable with her comedic delivery than when she is forced to play it straight in a horror flick, so it is nice to see her actually having fun for a change. Additionally, her chemistry with co-star Leonidas Gulaptis is excellent.
In terms of execution, the movie is expectedly lacking given the fact that it is a modestly-budgeted romantic comedy. The film has a very industrial and cookie cutter style about it, saved by the cast and screenplay. What is missing here are a few great sight gags to set it out above other raunchy comedies.
A Nice Girl Like You is a surprisingly enjoyable and entirely charming rom-com. If Lucy Hale can continue to get funny roles like this, hopefully she won’t be relegated to making crappy teen-oriented movies for the rest of her career.
A Nice Girl Like You is now available on VOD.